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Annals of the house of Percy 

Edward Barrington De Fonblanque 


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HFNRY ]''' T.:\?\. OF K' »FTHijMHKH]AND K U 
Frjn III IIl'murM'ed M y, in rjie Rnr;.s}i Muieuni 

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1887. .. 

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HE late Lord Henry Percy,' whose 
friendship it had been my privilege to 
enjoy, once expressed to me his regret 
that there existed no connected records 
of his ancestry, treated from an his- 
torical point of view ; and, in the course of subsequent 
references to this subject, asked me whether I should 
be inclined to undertake the composition of such a 
work, in the event of the head of his house proving 
willing to place the family archives at my disposal. 

I was yet engaged in formulating a plan of the 
proposed task when Lord Henry died suddenly. 

* Lieutenant-General Lord Henry Hugh Manvers Percy, Jf.if., 
K.C.B., Colonel of the 89th Regiment of Foot, the youngest son of 
the fifth Duke of Northumberland, bom in 181 7. He entered the 
Grenadier Guards in 1836, and served in that corps, with a few short 
intervals of Staff employment, until he attained the rank of Major- 
General in 1865. In 1854 he accompanied the First Battalion to the 
Crimea, and was wounded in leading his company up the Alma 
heights, and again at the Battle of Inkerman, where his conspicuous 
gallantry won him the newly-instituted order of Valour. (See Kinglake's 
Invasion of the Crimea, vol. v. p. 262, and Sir Frederick Hamilton's 
History of the Grenadier Guards, vol. iii. pp. 190 and 226.) In the 
following year he was entrusted with the duty of raising and organising 
an Anglo*Italian Legion in Sardinia, and was subsequently nominated 
English Commissioner (with the rank of Pasha) to the Turkish army. 

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Knowing how much he had had the project at heart, 
I thought it right to submit the correspondence which 
had passed between us in this matter to the Duke of 
Northumberland, who at once determined to give 
effect to his brother's wishes, and entrusted me with 
the preparation of the work upon the lines suggested 
by me. 

The materials at Alnwick Castle and Syon House 
— although these collections of MSS. are extensive, 
important and interesting — proved to fall very far 
short of Lord Henry's estimate, in as far as relates 
to their bearing upon family history. Indeed, con- 
sidering the very conspicuous part which the Percies 
had played in public affairs for so long a period, the 
paucity of documents in their possession connected 
with the share they had taken in civil and military 
transactions from the Conquest downward is difficult 
to account for, although it may, in earlier times, have 
been in some measure due to the several attainders 
and confiscations to which the Percies had been 
subject. Subsequently the neglect in the preservation 
of family documents may be ascribed to the alienation 

sent for the relief of Kars under Omar Pasha. When, in 1861, an expe- 
dition was fitted out in consequence of the insult oflfered to our Flag by 
the American Captain Wilkes's seizure of the Southern Commissioners 
on board an English mail steamer, Colonel Percy embarked for Canada 
in command of the First Battalion of the Grenadiers, and shortly after 
his return was promoted to the command of a Brigade at Aldershot, 
but resigned that appointment on being elected to Parliament for 
North Northumberland. Thenceforth, unfortunately, the precarious 
state of his health precluded him from reverting to that military 
employment to which he had devoted all the energies of his past life, 
and his remaining years were occupied in foreign travel and in the 
cultivation of his many refined and artistic tastes. He died of heart 
disease at his house in Eaton Square on 3rd December, 1877. 


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of Petworth, and the Percy Fee in Yorkshire 
and Cumberland. Among the MSS. in the British 
Museum and the Record Office, however, as well 
as in old printed chronicles and histories, most of 
them long since buried under the dust of ages, I have 
been enabled to glean much interesting information 
tending to throw light upon the subject of my 
labours; and, in common with all others engaged in 
historical research, I have been deeply indebted to 
those invaluable Calendars of State Papers published 
under the authority of the Master of the Rolls, 

E, Harrington de FonblanquEv 


London, 1887. 


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Origin of the ancestors of the Percies — Among the hivaders under Rollo — ^Norman 
nomenclature — William de Percy accompanies the Conqueror to England— 
His marriage with Emma de Port, a Saxon lady — Obtains great influence 
in the Northern Counties — Noble conduct of the Norman clergy — Foundation 
of religious houses — William de Percy founds Whitby Abbey — Serlo de Percy 
elected Abbot of Whitby— Dispute with hb brother r^arding the rights of 
the abbey — Extent of the lands of William de Percy— Amount of land re- 
quired to constitute a knight's fee — William de Percy held thirty-two knights' 
fees — Alan de Percy and his seven sons — William de Percy, fourth baron 
— Supports the usurpation of King Stephen — Obtains the lordship of Petworth 
— Ralph de Percy — Popular legend r^;arding — The heiresses Maud and Agnes 
— Lady Maud's bequests to Richard de Percy — ^Joceljrn de Louvain weds 
Lady Agnes de Percy — Her death — Norman line of the Percies ends with 
her Paga 1—33 



Hemy de Percy — Obtains by marriage the Manor of Lekinfield — Curious condition 
attached to the tenure of this manor — Is succeeded by his son, William de Percy 
— His uncle, Richard de Percy, usurps his rights for a time, and becomes a 
Dsivourite of King Richard I. — Character of King John— Harries the North of 
England — The baronial league against him — A scene in Parliament — William, 
the seventh Lord Percy — His seven sons and their various fortunes — The second 
Henry de Percy — His various public offices — The Earl of Warren and Surrey — 
Death of the ninth Baron de Percy Pages 35 — 49 


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Henry de Percy, first Lord of Alnwick — Obtains a licence to fortify bis castles of 
Spofibrtb, Lekinfieldy and Petwortb — His military exploits — Border warfare — 
Is rewarded for his share in the victory of Dunbar — Specimen of thirteenth 
century military despatches — Is appointed a Commissioner for negotiating a 
peace with Scotland — Scottish hostages — Equity of feudal service — Is the 
subject of a curious heraldic poem — Subscribes the famous letter of remon- 
strance to Pope Boniface — The Barons and the Church of Rome — Wallace and 
Percy — Obtains large grants of land in Scotland — Origin of Alnwick Castle 
— The French favourite, Piers de Galvestone — The Baronial Confederacy against 
him — He is seized and executed — Lord Percy is taken prisoner at the battle 
of Bannockboume — His ransom and death — Henry, the second Lord of Alnwick 
— Joins the Baronial League against the new favourite — The Spensers — His 
share in bringing Mortimer to death — Is granted for life .the castle, manor, 
and lands of Warkworth — Takes part in the battle of Halidon Hill, and 
in the wars with France — The battle of the Sluys — The victory of Crecy — 
Commands the English army at the battle of Neville's Cross — Derivation of the 
name of Percy — Last employment and death of the second Lord of Alnwick — 
His family — Additions made to Alnwick Castle during his lifetime — Physical 
traits of Henry de Percy, the third Lord of Alnwick — His marriage and 
military exploits — Hit second marriage and death — Benefactions of the Percies 
to York Cathedral ^ Pages 50—96 



State of England during the life of the fourth Lord Percy of Alnwick— The French 
wars— At the battle of Poitiers — Hi* marriage — Warden of the Scottish Marches 
—Joins the expedition to Castile — At the battle of Navaretta— Sir Thomas 
Percy and the fate of Chandos— Is made Seneschal of Poitou — Takes the castle 
of Montcontour by assault — Is taken prisoner and shortly after ransomed — Lord 
Percy in Scotland — In France — Returns to the Borders— Attends the " Good" 
Parliament — Lancaster and the Commons— John Wydif— Is tried for defying 
the Pope — Tumult in the City against Lancaster and Percy — Lord Percy is 
reconciled to the citizens— Is created Earl of Northumberland by investiture 
of the sword — His various offices in the State — Sir Thomas Percy appointed 
Admiral of the fleet north of the Thames — His exploits at sea — A naval 
engagement — Henry Hotspur — Hardyng's account of the training of a young 
noble of the fourteenth century — Berwick Castle assaulted and taken by 
Hotspur — Northumberland invaded by the Scots in retaliation — The doings 
of the Duke of Lancaster — Northumberland appointed Admiral of the North — 
The feud between Lancaster and Northumberland — Border raids — Northumber- 
land marries Maud, heiress of Lord Lucy — Possessions he obtained with her — 

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Plot against Hotspur — Expedition of the Duke of Lancaster to Castile — Sir 
Thomas Percy commands the fleet — Results of the expedition — The Scots 
invade England — Encounter between Hotspur and Douglas — The battle of 
Otterboume — Hotspur and Sir Ralph Percy are taken prisoners — Hotspur 
ransomed— The ballad of Chevy Chace— Character of Richard H.— The 
Duke of Gloucester's league — The ** wonder-working" Parliament — Hotspur 
made a Knight of the Garter — He proceeds on a complimentary mission to the 
King of Cyprus— Is made Governor of Berwick — Sir Ralph Percy — Sir Thomas 
Percy — Sent on an embassy to France — Festivities at the French Court — A 
fourteenth-century despatch — Richard I.'s expedition to Ireland, and marriage 
with Isabel of France — A humiliating peace — King Richard's last Parliament 
— The banishment of Bolingbroke — Richard's enmity to the Percies — ^They are 
proclaimed traitors — Bolingbroke lands at Ravenspur — Richard deserted by 
his adherents takes refuge in Conway Castle — Henry of Lancaster's usurpation 
—Richard's deposition — The French "Metrical Chronicle "—King Richard at 
Conway Castle — Northumberland negotiates with the King, and escorts him 
to Flint Castle — Lancaster dismisses the armies — Attitude of the Percies — Henry 
becomes King — Reaction of public feeling in favour of Richard — Hotspur's 
offices and honours — Border troubles — Northumberland proceeds on a mission 
to the Continent — Employments of the Earl of Worcester — Escorts Queen 
Isabel on her return to France — Conducts Joan of Navarre to England to become 
Henry's Queen— The war in Wales — Hotspur's letters — Edmund Mortimer and 
the Earl of March — The King's jealousy of the Percies — Invasion of the Scots — 
Battle of Nesbitt Moor— Battle of Homildon— The right of ransom— The 
King, contrary to usage, claims the prisoners — Remonstrance of the Percies — 
Final interview between the King and Northumberland and Hotspur — The 
rebellion of the Percies — ^The tripartite indenture — Merlin's prophecies — 
Hotspur's march southward — The King's arrival at Shrewsbury — Hotspur 
disappointed in readiing Shrewsbury before the King falls back on Little 
Berwick — The challenge of the Percies — Negotiations — Worcester's interview 
with the King — Fruitless — Evil omens — The battle of Shrewsbury — Death of 
Hotspur— Effects of the victory on the fortunes of the King — The rebellion 
suppressed — Northumberland submits and is pardoned — Fresh conspiracies — 
The northern castles seized by the King — Attainder and outlawry of Northumber- 
land and Lord Bardolph — ^Northumberland is slain in the fight at Bramham 
Moor — Feudalism illustrated in the lives of successive generations of the 
Percies • Pages 97 — 240 



Is taken to the Scottish Court by his mother — Studies at the University of St. 
Andrew's — His life while a prisoner in Scotland — Appeals to Henry V. for a 
reversal of the attainder — Restored to his titles and lands — Marries the Lady 
Alianore Neville — His family and domestic life — State of the Borders — 
Character and position of Henry V.— His French wars— His death— The 


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Ear] of Northumberland acts as one of the executors to the deceased 
monarch — And frequently presides in Courts of Chivalry on questions of 
disputed precedency—The wager of battle— Liberation of the Scottish kmg — 
Northumberland escorts the Scottish monarch to the Borders — The battle of 
Piperden — Northumberland goes on a mission to Portugal — Acquires the Lord- 
ship of Doncaster — Founds scholardiips at Oxford — Is defeated by the Scots in 
an encounter on the Borders — Is one of the judges on the trial of the Duke of 
Suffolk — Dispute between Northumberland and his brother-in-law the Earl 
of Salisbury — Letter to Lord Sajrntemonde — Is slaia fighting for the house of 
Lancaster at the battle of St Alban's — Enumeration of additional lands 
acquired during hisrlifetime Pages 241 — 26S 



Natural sympathy of the third Earl with Henry VI. — His public life — ^The avenger 
of St. Alban's— The conference with the Yorkists— The "Joyful Agreement "— 
End of the short-lived truce — Attainder of the Duke of York — The battles of 
Blore, Northampton, and Wakefield — Evil spirit engendered by the civil 
wars- The second battle of St. Alban's— The battle of Towton Fields— North- 
umberland and his younger brother Richard are slain — Sir Ralph Percy the 
only surviving brother — Efforts of Queen Margaret to retrieve her defeat — 
Death of Sir Ralph Percy at the battle of Hedgcly Moor — Reflections on his 
conduct, and tradition connected with his death Pages 269 — 286 



Takes refuge in Scotland — Is partially restored to his honours by Edward IV. — 
Appointed Warden of the Eastern Marches — Remains neutral during Edward's 
enforced absence — The battle of Tewkesbury — Northumberland binds himself 
to render service to the Duke of Gloucester — Accompanies the King to Calais 
— Receives various offices and honours — Death of Edward IV. — The Duke 
of Gloucester becomes Regent, and then King — Northumberiand's petition to 
Richard for complete restoration of all his lands — The Earl of Richmond — 
The battle of Bosworth — Henry VII. confirms Northumberland in all his offices 
and honours — Lambert Simnel — Further offices and honours conferred on North- 
umberland — King Henry's obnoxious tax — Northumberland's affair with John 
a'Chambre — And his death — A costly funeral — His family — Marriage of his 
daughter Alianore to the Duke of Buckingham Pages 287—309 


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Hi* praises are sung by the Poet Laureate — Attends the Kii^ to France — 
Appearance of Perkin Warbeck — Aids in defeating the forces of the impostor 
— Remains in constant attendance on the King — Marries the daughter and 
co-heiress of Sir Robert Spenser — Conducts the Princess Margaret to the 
Border on the occasion of her marriage with the Scottish king — Somerset 
Herald's account of the Royal Progress — Northumberland is created a Knight of 
the Bath — ^The exactions of the Star Chamber — The case of Sir Reginald Bray 
— Northumberland is subjected to heavy fines — Livery and wardship^His 
magnificence and patronage of letters — The Northumberland "Household 
Book" — Extent of the Earl's domestic establishment — Mode of life, and 
ceremonial observances — Comparison of Italian and English culture and 
refinement — Accession of Henry VIII. — A French campaign — A luxurious 
equipment — A time of revcliy and joustii^ — The siege of Terouenne — The 
battle of Flodden Field—The rise and character of Cardinal Wolsey— His 
haughty treatment of the nobles — Northumberland is committed to the Fleet 
Prison — Is released by the fisivour of Wolsey — Matrimonial projects — Lord 
Dacre, Warden of the East, West, and Middle Marches — His exploits against 
the Scotch — The Queen Dowager of Scotland takes refuge at the English 
Court — Northumberland's letter to Shrewsbury — Is appointed one of the ten 
Earls to wait upon Francis I. on the Field of the Cloth of Gold — Appointed 
Lord Warden of the Marches — Resigns the office to the regret of his followers — 
Exploits of Sir William Percy — Border Raids — Expedition into Scotland 
— Death of Northumberland — Funeral arrai^ments — Interference of Wolsey 
in family afiiurs. Pages 310—360 



Received his early training in the household of Cardinal Wolsey— The Page and 
the Maid of Honour — Anne Boleyn — ^Thc rude interruption of Lord Percy's 
courtship — His interview with the Cardinal — The lover's plea not enter- 
tained — Statement of the position in which he stood with Anne Boleyn 
— Broken ties — His interview with his father on the subject — He departs 
for the Borders— Effects of Wolsejr's policy on the spirit of the old nobility 
— Skelton's appeal to the nobles to resist the pretensions of the Cardinal 
— Censorious interference of the Cardinal in the Earl's a£&urs — Alleged 
wastefulness — Snbomation of his servants by the Cardinal — "Bedfellow" 
Arundel- Domestic troubles — Is appointed Wiirden-General of the Northern 


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Marches — The Earl of Angus — Border outrages — Capture of some of the 
criminals — Sir William Lisle — Wolsey*8 letter to Northumberland — North- 
umberland's reply — His zeal in the public service — Attributes his success to 
the Cardinal's advice — Account of the distracted state of Scotland — Letter 
from James V. to Northumberland — His preparations for defending England 
against the inroads of the Scots — Family feuds — The Duke of Richmond — 
Northumberland arbitrates in the disputes of the northern nobles — The plague 
visits England — ^The old Duchess of Norfolk's remedy — Financial embarrass- 
ments — A strong sense of justice a marked feature in the character of the 
Earl — Troublesome neighbours — The fall of Wolsey — Bitterness of his enemies 
— Northumberland accompanies Sir Walter Walshe to arrest the Cardinal — 
Wolse/s reception of him — The arrest — Death of Wolsey — The Earl's em- 
barrassments continue to increase — His letters regarding the state of the 
Borders — Henry's designs upon the Scottish Crown — Scottish raids and out- 
rages on the Borders — English lawlessness — A peace concluded with Scotland 
— A Court intrigue — Suspicion excited in the King's mind as to the nature 
of Northumberland's early connection with Anne Boleyn — State of the 
postal service — Sir Thomas More — Northumberland's defence against Secretary 
Cromwell's charges — The fidl of Queen Anne — Her trial — The alleged 
pre-contract — Northumberland's letter to Cromwell on this subject — The 
execution of Anne — The insurrection known as "The Pilgrimage of Grace" 
— Suppression of the monasteries — Popular feeling — Robert Aske, leader of 
the malcontents — Sir Thomas Percy's share in the rising, and Sir Ingelram 
Percy's — Account of the examination of Sir Thomas Percy — The story of the 
rebellion — Object of the insurgents — The Earl lies sick at Wressil Castle — 
Is threatened by the rebels — His unwavering loyalty — Malice of his enemies 
—Unjust suspicions — Progress of the rebellion— The Duke of Norfolk's 
negotiations — Sir Frands Bigod's rising — Norfolk violates his promises to the 
rebels — Suppression of the rebellion — Retribution — King Henry's alleged 
clemency — Northumberland vests his lands in the Crown — His letters to the 
King and Cromwell — His illness and pecuniary embarrassments — A lonely 
deathbed— The widowed Countess— Sir Ingekam Percy .... Pages 361—479 


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VOL. I. 


I. Charter of Whitby Abbey 481 

11. Richard de Percy's Litigation 482 

1 1 A. Henry Percy and William Wallace 577 

III. Alnwick Castle 487 

IV. Safe-Conduct to Henry de Percy 488 

V. Warkworth Castle 488 

VI. Scottish Lands Granted to Henry de Percy .... 489 

VII. Exchange of Lands 490 

VIII. Expenses of Scottish Wars 490 

IX. Lands in Possession of the Third Baron Percy of 

Alnwick 493 

X. Will of Thomas de Percy, Bishop of Norwich ... 501 

XL Lands Settled in Dower upon the Lady Mary 

Plantagenet 504 

XII. Fortification of Berwick, a.d. 1364— 1367 504 

XIII. The Earldom of Northumberland 505 

XIV. Garrisons of Berwick and Roxburgh 506 

XV. Wardenship of Roxburgh Castle 507 

XVI. Sir Thomas de Percy's Indenture to serve France . 507 

XVII. The Earl of Northumberland's Retinue 508 

XVII A. Prudhoe Castle 510 

XVII a Capture of Ralph Percy at Otterbourne 515 


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X VIII. The Lordship of Arundel 515 

XIX. The Office of High Constable of England ... 516 

XX. Grant of the Isle of Man 517 

XXI. Emoluments of the Earl of Worcester 518 

XXII. Negotiations with Scotland 519 

XXIII. The Rebellion in Wales 520 

XXIV. The Hotspur Correspondence 521 

XXV. Appeal for the Soldiers' Pay 526 

XXVI. Prince Henry in the Welsh Wars 527 

XXVII. King Henry's First Mention of the Rebellion . 528 

XXVIII. The Percy Challenge to Henry IV 529 

XXVIIlA. Delivery of Hotspur's Body to his Widow . . • . 531 

. XXIX. Surrender to the King's Commissioners of Aln- 
wick, Warkworth, and other Castles 532 

XXX. Credentials of Lord Say 534 

XXXI. Surrender of Jedworth Castle 535 

XXXI A. A Writ for Quartering the Body of the First 

Earl of Northumberland 535 

XXXII. Henry Percy's Petition ix) the Parliament ... 536 

XXXIII. Relating to Percy Lands held in Fee Tail ... 537 

XXXIV. Prudhoe Castle 537 

XXXV. Castles and Mansion Houses belonging to the 
Percies from the Conquest down to the Middle 

OF THE Fifteenth Century 539 

XXXV A. Unsettled Condition of the Border in 1435 ... 540 

XXXVI. Foundation of Fellowships at Oxford 541 

XXXVII. Lands in Possession of Henry Percy, Second Earl 

OF Northumberland, at the date of his death 542 

XXXVII A. Warrant of Henry Percy, Son of the Second 

' ' Earl of Northumberland 543 

XXXVIII. The Poynings Lands acquired by the Third Earl 

OF Northumberland 544 


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XXXIX. The Award made at Westminster on the Three- 


XL. Abstract of the Will of the Third Earl of 

Northumberland 547 

XLI. Henry Percy's Oath of Allegiance 548 

XLII. Restoration of the Fourth Earl of Northumber- 
land 548 

XLI 1 1. Indenture Between the Earl of Northumberland 

and Richard Duke of Gloucester 549 

XLIV. Funeral of the Fourth Earl of Northumberland 550 
XLV. Army under the Fifth Earl of Northumberland, 

October 1523 552 

XLVI. Reward to the Forces under Lorp Ogle and Sir 

William Percy, 1522 552 

XLVI A. "The Falcon" 553 

XLVI I. The Lord Warden's Paid Deputies and Gentle- 

BiEN 554 

XLVIII. Demand for Instructions 556 

XLIX. Grants made by the Sixth Earl of Northumber- 
land in 1531, for Pious Purposes 558 

L. Licence to Alienate Lands in Kent ....... 559 

LI. Petition of the Abbot and Convent of Salley to 

Sir Thomas Percy 559 

LII. Part I., Sir Thomas Percy's Acts of Rebellion . . 561 

Lll. Part II., Sir Ingram Percy's doings in the time 

of the said Insurrection, 1536 564 

LI 1 1. False Charges against the Earl of Northumber- 
land 568 

LIV. The Second Rising 568 

LV. Trial of Sir Thomas Percy 569 

LVI. Private Debts of the Sixth Earl of Northumber- 
land 573 

VOL. I. xvii b 

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VOL. I. 


Portrait of Henry, First Earl of Northumberland, K.G. 

From an illuminated MS. in the British Museum . . Frontispiece 

Whitby Abbey 17 

Spofforth Castle 51 

Malcolm's Cross, Alnwick Castle 64 

Alnwick Castle 71 

Arms on the Gateway of the Keep, Alnwick Castle .... 90 
Seal of Henry, Son and Heir of Henry, Twelfth Baron 

Percy, 1363 96 


Wressil Castle 140 

Memorial Brass to the Widow of Hotspur and Her Husband, 

Lord Camoys, in Trotton Church 204 

Facsimile of Autograph Subscription of Henry, First Earl 

OF Northumberland, K.G 210 

Warkworth Hermitage 246 

Warkworth Castle 260 

Facsimile of Autograph of Henry, Second Earl of North- 
umberland 268 

Percy's Cross 286 

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Facsimile of Autogra1»h of Henry, Fourth Earl of North- 
umberland, K.G 309 

The Percy Shrine, Beverley Minster 322 

Facsimile of Autograph of Henry, Fifth Earl of North- 
umberland, K.G , • ... 360 

Prudhoe Castle 385 

Facsimile of Letter from Henry, Sixth Earl of Northum- 
berland, K.G., TO Thomas Cromwell 471 

Inscription on Wall of Beauchamp Tower in Tower of 
London, recording the Captivity of Sir Ingelram 
Percy -. 479 

Percy Seals 480 

No. i. William de Percy, Lord of Craven, ob. 1245. 

2. Henry de Percy, afterwards First Earl of Northumberland. 

3. Henry de Percy, 1363. The same, used in the lifetime 

of his Father. 

4. Henry de Percy, sen.. Eleventh Baron, ob. 1352. 

5. Henry de Percy, First Earl of Northumberland, 1400. 

6. Henry de Percy, Second Earl of Northumberland, 1435. 

7. Henry de Percy, Third Earl of Northumberland. Seal used 

as Warden of the Marches in the lifetime of his 
Father, 1427. 

8. Henry de Percy, Twelfth Century. 

9. Henry de Percy, Tenth Baron, 1301. 

10. Henry de Percy, Tenth Baron, 1301. 

♦#* Nos. 9 and 10 are Counter-Seals. 

11. Henry de Percy, Thirteenth Baron, afterwards First Earl 

of Northumberland, 1372. 

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Na 12. Robert de Percy, Lord of Dunsley, " Secretum," 1317. 

13. Henry de Percy, Twelfth Baron, 1355. 

14. Henry de Percy, First Earl of Northumberland, 1386. 

15. Beatrix, wife of Robert de Percy, Lord of Dunsley, 1317. 

16. Henry de Percy, Thirteenth Baron, afterwards First Earl 

of Northumberland, 1376. 

17. Thomas de Percy, Earl of Worcester, 1393. 
15* Agnes de Percy. 

i6*. Henry de Percy (Hotspur), 1392-97. 
17*. Henry de Percy, Ninth Earl of Northumberland, 

18. Counter-Seal. 

19. Henry Algernon Percy, Sixth Earl of Northumberland, 


20. Algernon Percy, Tenth Earl of Northumberland. 

21. Algernon Percy, Tenth Earl of Northumberland, 1636. 

*n* Nos. 20 and 21 appear to be Counter-Seals. 

Thomas, Bishop of Norwich, 1 355-1 369. 
Henry de Percy, Second Earl of Northumberland, 1446. 
Genealogical Table — Pedigree of Percy. In Pocket at end of Volume. 


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Page 6, line iZ^for " conquerer " read ** conqueror." 

„ 8, last line but one, for**ox " read ** for." 

„ 10, footnote 4, et passim, for ** Holinshead " read " Holinshed." 

„ 12, footnote, for * * glossarum " read * * glossarium. " 

„ 20, footnote, page 36, line 11, pace 51, line 5, and page 90, footnote 2, for 

** Fountain *^read " Fountains. ' 

„ 22, footnote, and page 30, line 9, for "caracute" read **canicate." 

„ 23, line 15, for ** prxlia " read •• prsedia," 

„ 33, marginal date,>r ** I3H" read ** 1 134." 

, , 45, line 9ffor** seventh " read * * eighth. " 

M »5, >* i8,yW^"Tiviotdale"r^fl</"TeviotdaIe." 

„ 89, footnote I, for '*cum omni modo," &c., read ** cum omnimoda subjectionis 

ct devotionis reverentia." 

„ 90, line S,for ** 1365 " read *' 1353." 

„ 103, footnote Stf^ ** bel palme " r^ad ** plaine." 

„ 109, line I, for " Golfe " read •* Goflfe." 

„ 113, lines 16 and IT^ for **the knyghtes, assenting" read "the knyghtes 


„ 124, line 9, for " Gomenego " read ** Gomegines." 

„ 126 and 127 passim, for " Calverley " read •* Calveley." 

„ 128, four lines from foot, dele "great." 

,, ij6, footnote I, and page 137, footnote 2, for " Stowe " read " Stow." 

„ 181, last line and footnote %for " Maudelin " read " Mandelin." 

„ 208, first line of footnote, for '* superi nimicos " read "super inimicos." 

„ 224, for " this Hotspur Mars," read " this Hotspur, Mars." 

„ 232, footnote 2, for " Somers " read " Somerset." 

M 235, ., 4,/v"Redpath"r<f«k/"Ridpath." 

, , 250, footnote, for * * Wainright " read * * Wainwright. " 

„ 260, line 3 from bottom, y^ " Salisbury " read " Shrewsbury." 

„ 269, heading after Earl of Northumberland, omit lt.0. 

„ 283, line 9, for " four " read " three " brothers. 

„ 284, 5 lines from foot, for " Montagu " read " Montacute." 

„ 286, footnote, >r " Hume " read " See Earl of Orford's Works (Edition 1748), 

Historic Doubts, vol. ii. p. 113." 

„ 298, footnote 1, quotation, y&r " theray " read " the 'ray " (array). 

»» 3231 5 lines from foot,y&r " Ingleram read " Ingelram." 

». 333» footnote i,for " Gustiniani " read " GiustiaianL" 

,, 397, line 14, for " wish " read "wist." 

»> 398, f, 3, /?r " nephew " rM</ " grand-nephew." 

„ 398, footnote I, for " Lanell " read " Lassells." 

„ 420, line 24, >r " Marke " read " Mark." 

„ 434, „ 20, for " the Duke " read " he." 

» 438, », i9,/i?r" report "r^fl^" story." 

,, 448, footnote I, lines 4 and S*f^ *' Riton " read " Ryton." 

„ 487, transfer footnote i to page 489, with reference to lines 6 and 7 from top 

in text. 

„ 498, line 19, for *' Devewyk " read " Denewyk." 

, , 504, first heading, for ' * Platagenet " read * * Plantagenet. " 

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DISTINGUISHED writer has said that 
'* History, treat it as we may, ulti- 
mately resolves itself into biography." ' 
^ryraEWMiT ^^^ converse of the proposition holds 

^gMZ^^^ .: equally good, for the narratives of in- 
dividual lives are but the tributary 
streams that feed the great ocean of national records ; — 
the units that make up that aggregate of human effort 
and human action which we call history. 

It has been my object in these volumes to illustrate 
the progressive stages of the social and political systems 
of England, by the lives of successive generations of a 
family which, through more than six centuries, played a 
conspicuous part in national story ; to make the Percies 
the central figures in a continuous series of historical 
pictures, showing them as they moved, spoke and did ; 
and how, by act, word and example, they contributed to 
shape or to influence the destinies of their country. 

The abundance of the legendary element in the sur- 
roundings of my story, has frequently tempted me to 
overstep that narrow boundary line which separates 
history from romance ; and to claim for the biographer 

* Introduction to Sir Francis Palgrave's HUtory of Normandy and of 


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and the historian the privileges of the poet and the 
novelist.' In curbing this tendency, and in strictly sub- 
ordinating pictorial effect to historical truth, it may be 
that the general interest of the work has been impaired ; 
but are not, after all, a man's actual words and deeds of 
greater worth than the most brilliant achievements of a 
hero of fiction ? 

The popular estimate of Hotspur is mainly derived 
from Shakespeare's picture of the impetuous and hot- 
headed soldier ; but is not the real Harry Percy as he 
walked the earth a more interesting object to contem- 
plate than the poet's brilliant creation, as we see him 
prepare to dive into the depths of ocean, "to pluck up 
drownM honour by the locks," or to soar into space, 
" to pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon *' ? 

The name of Percy has come to be so closely asso- 
ciated with the county from which the territorial title is 
derived, that we are apt to look upon the family as of 
Northumbrian origin. The Percies, however, had no 
connection with that province until two centuries after 
their settlement in England ; and even after they became 
the chief guardians of the frontier, by the acquisition of 
the old border castle and the lordship of Alnwick, by 
far the greater part of their possessions, and their 
principal residences, were in the cradle of their race — 
Yorkshire. The title, too, which now appears to be 
inseparably associated with the name of Percy, had by 
no means been their exclusive property. Between the 
Conquest and the creation of the earldom in the person 

' Historical novels have been denounced as *' mortal enemies to 
history." An enemy yet more insidious is the writer who, purporting to 
record historical events, draws upon his imagination for their colouring ; 
or, when at fault for want of authentic evidence, supplements his narra- 
tive by the substitution of legend for fact, or even by a resort to the 
arts of fiction. 


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of Henry Percy, fourth Lord of Alnwick, there had 
been no less than twelve ' Earls of Northumberland of 
different families ; and since that period the title, while 
in abeyance in consequence of attainder or the failure 
of heirs, has been borne by a Nevill, a Dudley, and 
a Fitzroy.* 

The ancient Percies were from the necessities of their 
position as well as the character of the age, more dis- 
tinguished for moral and physical vigour and energy 
than for political genius. Men of action, rather than of 
thought or words, they were all brave soldiers, most of 
them skilful commanders; but throughout the twenty 
generations from the Conquest down to the reign of the 
second Charles, it is doubtful whether a reputation for 
high statesmanship can be claimed for more than two 
members of the house.^ There are, however, few families 
that can present so great a number of picturesque types 
of the old English nobility in illustration of the history 
of their times, or who so long and uninterruptedly en- 
joyed the attachment and the confidence of the English 
people and so greatly influenced their destinies. 

William Als Gemons, the Norman who made himself 
a home in the wilds of bleak Yorkshire, married " for 
conscience' sake ^' the Saxon maiden whose lands he had 
conquered, defied the authority of Crown and Church 
when they conflicted with his interests or his whims, and 

* Of these twelve Earls of Northumberland seven were of Saxon, two 
of Scottish, and three of Norman blood. See Nicolas's Historic Peerage 
cf England. 

» The two latter were Dukes as well as Earls of Northumberland. 

3 Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, who fell at Shrewsbury, and the 
Earl Algernon, Lord High Admiral under Charles I. It should, how- 
ever, be borne in mind that under the martial Plantagenets, and 
subsequently during the Wars of the Roses, there was little room for 
the cultivation of statesmanship; while the jealousy of the Tudor 
Sovereigns virtually excluded the ancient nobility from civil employ- 
ment, and caused them to be superseded in the Coimdl Chamber by 
priests and lawyers. 


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in his old age made his peace by donning " scollop shell 
and sandal shoon," dying a brave crusader within sight 
of the Holy City : his turbulent and warlike sons and 
grandsons, the earliest champions of feudal rights against 
the royal power: Richard de Percy, foremost among 
the sturdy Barons who extorted the charter of English 
liberties from King John, and defied the pretensions of 
the Pope of Rome : the martial and chivalrous Lords of 
Alnwick, " sober in peace and cruel in battail : " the 
first Earl of Northumberland towering above his brilliant 
contemporaries, haughty, daring, and generous ; rising to 
the highest pinnacle of subject greatness, and dying, 
sword in hand, an outlaw and a rebel : his splendid 
soldier sons. Hotspur and Ralph, and his politic and 
accomplished brother, Worcester, general, admiral, 
diplomatist, courtier, and statesman : the second Earl 
and his four sons, all of whom fell on the battle-field 
in defence of the House of Lancaster : Henry the 
Magnificent, and, in sad contrast with him, his suffering 
son, the Unthrifty : *' Simple Tom," dying so calmly 
on the scaffold in defence of his faith, and " Cruel 
Henry,*' sacrificed in the cause of the Scottish Queen : 
the Wizard Earl, finding a solace for his long captivity 
in scientific studies, and his high-minded son, the Lord 
Admiral of England ; — where shall we find such another 
line of representative men ? 

The Percies had, as a rule, formed high and wealthy 
alliances, choosing their wives from among the daughters 
of royal houses or of the most noble of the ruling 
families of England, and in most instances acquiring 
large possessions and additional dignities by these mar- 
riages.* Thrice in the course of eight centuries there 

' " Not more famous in arms than distinguished for its alliances, the 
House of Percy stands preeminent for the number and rank of the 


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was a break in the male line of descent. Of the first 
Percy heiress, the Lady Agnes, we know little more 
than that when she conferred her hand upon the brother 
of the Queen of England, she stipulated to retain for 
herself and her heirs the name of her baronial ancestors, 
instead of assuming her husband's princely title ; and 
that, pious, gracious, and charitable,' she presided in regal 
state over her magnificent household — "our court'* as 
she calls it. After the lapse of five centuries a daughter 
once more inherited the honours of the ancient house, 
and the wildest flights of romantic fiction could hardly be 
more startling than the incidents in the early girlhood 
of the Percy heiress, who, in her sixteenth year, married 
*'the proud Duke^' of Somerset, having then already 
been twice widowed without having become a wife. 

Less adventurous and brilliant, but ever pleasant to 
contemplate, is the long life of the third heiress, the 
gentle Elizabeth Seymour, who married the handsome 
Yorkshire baronet for love, and was rewarded by the 
unfailing devotion of a husband who won, and placed 
upon her brow, the ducal coronet which their descendants 
have continued to wear with simple dignity and stainless 

Although in the course of eight hundred years there 
had thus been only three failures of male issue in the direct 
line, it is remarkable how frequently the younger branches 
of the house died either childless or without sons. 

The founder of the English Percies had five grand- 
sons, of whom only one left male issue. In the next 

fkmilies which arc represented by the Duke of Northumberland, whose 
banner consequently exhibits an assemblage of nearly nine hundred 
armorial ensigns. Among these are those of King Henry VIL, of 
several younger branches of the blood royal, of the sovereign houses of 
France, Castile, Leon, and Scotland, and of the ducal houses of Nor- 
mandy and Brittany, forming a galaxy of heraldic honours altogether 
unparalleled." — Historic Peerage^ by Sir Harris Nicolas. 


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generation there were three sons, of whom two died 
childless, and one left an only son. He again left four 
sons, all of whom died childless. The Lady Agnes of 
Louvain had four sons, of whom the eldest left two 
sons, neither of whom had issue. In the two following 
generations three out of six, and two out of three, sons 
died without heirs male ; and of the five brothers of the 
third Lord Percy of Alnwick not one left male issue. 
The first Earl of Northumberland was one of two 
brothers, and by his two sons, both of whom he survived, 
only one was left, while oi his nine sons only two left 
male issue. The fourth Earl was an only son ; the only 
son of the seventh Earl died in infancy, and of his 
brother's (the eighth Earl's) eight sons, seven are believed 
to have died childless. Of the four sons of the ninth 
Earl two died in infancy and the third unmarried ; while 
the tenth Earl had only one surviving daughter by his 
first wife, and by his second wife an only son, who died 
without male issue. 

The more remote branches of the House of Percy, 
which had spread in considerable numbers in various 
parts of the three kingdoms, became, in many instances, 
extinct after a few generations; while most of those 
who survived gradually lost all trace of connection 
with the ruling family. 

In other cases a connection was assumed for which 
there was no warrant. The prosperity of the original 
Percies after their settlement in England would appear 
to have tempted other Norman gentlemen from the same 
district to try their fortune across the Channel ; and some 
of these, although bearing no relationship whatever to the 
English house, had, on emigrating, adopted the name of 
their common canton. Thus we are told of one" Gilbert 
de Percy, who, in the reign of Henry the Second, held 
in Dorsetshire thirty-one knights' fees, whose posterity 


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possessed considerable property in the southern counties 
for many ages, and is hardly yet [1812] extinct in 
Hampshire, Wiltshire, and Devonshire ; but who were 
a distinct family from that of the Lords Percy of 
Yorkshire and Northumberland,"' 

The system of feudal tenure naturally tended to the 
localisation of families, the collateral members of which 
grouped themselves around the head of the house from 
motives of attachment, duty, or self-interest. With the 
weakening of that system, however, these domestic ties 
became relaxed, and when the great noble ceased to 
be all-powerful within his domain ; when, under altered 
social and political conditions, he could no longer afford 
protection or employment to the numerous kinsmen who 
had sought shelter under his castle walls and served him 
as their natural chief, these men would wander forth to 
other regions, and, shifting for themselves, with change 
of locality, pursuits, and habits, soon lost touch with the 
head of their house. ^ 

A northern antiquary, writing towards the end of the 
eighteenth century, says : — 

" Great and numerous as the Percy family had been 
about Whitbey in the reigns immediately after the Con- 
quest, no trace of them now remains among us ; and after 

« Sir Egerton Brydges's Continuation of Cottins's Peerage^ vol. ii. 
p. 222. 

Even in Yorkshire we come across some Percies whose connection 
with the noble house it is difficult to trace. Thus, in the parish church 
of Hessle, in the East Riding, this inscription is found over the grave 
of a Dame Ann Percy, " wyff to Syr Henry Percy, who to hym bare 
XVI. Children; which Ann departed this lyfe the XIX. day of 
December, 157 1." There is no known member of the family to whom 
this description can be made to apply. 

* The alteration of the name, which with change of scene became 
transformed into Pierce, Pearce, Pearson, and other corruptions of the 
original Percy, must have contributed materially to destroy the 
means of identification, and to obliterate the traces of a common 

VOL. r. XXV c 

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the most diligent inquiry I cannot find a single person 
of the name now living at Whitbey, or anywhere in the 
Whitbey Strand." ' 

It is remarkable that whereas in the turbulent period 
from the Conquest down to the fourteenth century, the 
chiefs or immediate members of the warlike house of 
Percy all died in their beds, within the next two 
centuries no less than six Earls of Northumberland and 
six of their sons or brothers met with violent deaths.' 
These were : — 

I, Henry Percy, ist Earl of Northumberland, 


who fell at Bramham Moor, 


2. Thomas 

, his brother, \ 
„ his son, 

3. Hotspur 

„ Shrewsbury, 


4. Henry 

2nd Earl, 

„ St. Alban's, 


5. Henry 

6. Richard , 

, 3rd „ 

Vhis brothers, 

1 Towton Fields, 

146 1. 

7. Thomas , 

„ Northampton, 


8. Ralph , 

. ) 

„ Hedgeley Moor, 


9. Henry 

„ 4th Earl, murdered at Cockledge, 


10. Thomas 

„ brother of 6th Earl, 

beheaded at Tyburn, 


II. Thomas 

„ 7th Earl, 



12. Henry 

„ 8th „ killed 

in the Tower, 


The shortlivedness of the heads of the English House 
of Percy is deserving of notice, their average duration 
of life in the twenty-two generations, from the Conquest 
down to 1670, having been less than fifty years, and this 
average applies as much to the eleven barons who 

* History of Whitbey Abbey ^ by Lionel Charlton, p. 224. 

* In his Life of Prince Rupert^ Eliot Warburton states that "although 
there were as few battles as conspiracies in which a Percy had not taken 
part, yet they had shed more blood on the scaffold than on the field of 
battle." The foregoing table will show this statement to be em)neous. 


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brought down the line to the end of the fourteenth 
century, not one of whom died a violent death, as 
to the later generations, of whom so many fell in 

Their wives and daughters, however, enjoyed ex- 
ceptional longevity, no less than eight of them having 
attained or exceeded the age of threescore and ten. 

■ The average age of the eleven contemporary English sovereigns 
was fifty-six, although two of them came prematurely to a violent end. 


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Zhc Ibouee of petcie. 

$ VOL. I. 

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€^e Gorman Vcttiet;. 

First Baron. 
William de Percy, sumamed Als Geraons, bom 
circ.^ 1030, died 1096. 

Second Baron. 
Alan, sumamed the Great, bom circ. 1069, 
died 1 1 20. 

Third Baron. 
WiLUAM, bom 10S8, died 1133. 

Fourth Baron. 
WiLUAM,"bom 1112, died ii68. 

Representatives of Fifth Baron. 
Maud, Countess of Warwick, bom 1132, died 
X203, and 

Agnes, Countess of Louvain, bom 1134, died 

English Scverdgns. 

William I. aa. 1066 
William II. „ 1087 

William I. 

William II. 

Henry I. „ 11 02 

Henry I. 

Henry I. 

Stephen „ 1135 

Henry II. „ 1154 

Henry I. 

Henry II. 

Richard I. „ 1189 

John „ 1199 

' The reader ihonld be warned that the dates of births in this table are by no means 
reliable, being in some cases indeed merely inferential guesses. The dates of the deaths 
rest, as a rule, upon documentary evidence more or less authentic. 

• Dugdale ana Banks introduce five generations from the Conauest to the failure of 
male issue in 11 86 ; whereas, according to Collins and Later genealogists who appear to 
have accepted his conclusions, the failure took place in the thurd generation. Under this 
arrangement, however, there would be a lapse of ninety-nine years between the biilh 
of the second Baron and the death of his son, and of one hundred and twentv years 
between the birth of the third Baron and the death of his youngest daughter. There is 
hardly room for two intermediate generations, and in the case of Richud, the supposed 
fifth Baron, Dugdale has probably, as Collins suggests, confounded collaterals with 
descendants ; but William the third Baron supplies an apparently necessanr link in the 
chain, and I have had no hesitation in accepting him as the son of Alan, and the 
grandfiuher, instead of the father, of the co-heiresses. 

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die Gorman ^txciti^ 

HIS ancient and right noble family do 
derive their descent from Mainfred 
de Percy, which Mainfred came out 
of Denmark into Normandy before the 
adventure of the famous Rollo thither."* 
So writes one of the most learned and industrious of 
English antiquaries ; and biography is too deeply in- 
debted to genealogical research to be justified in arbi- 
trarily rejecting its revelations for want of documentary 
evidence to confirm them. Tradition plays an important 
part in all family history, and although there exist no 
authentic records to establish the identity of any of the 
Danish invaders of Neustria before the time of Rollo, 
and the Sea King himself is a somewhat mythical hero 
until his personality emerges under the light of the tenth 
century,' it is quite possible that the names of some of 

* Dugdale's Baronage. 

* Nearly a full century had elapsed before any portion of Rollo's 
personal history was committed to writing, and in these records 
truth and fable are necessarily so closely intermingled that the exploits 

3 B 2 

I 030-1 205 

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A.D. these Scandinavian pirates may have been preserved by 
1030-120S ji^^ir descendants. 

In his biographical sketch of the Percy family,' the 
accomplished Bishop of Dromore has unhesitatingly 
adopted Mainfred' as the founder of the French 
house, alleging that '* the old Norman nobility were 
very exact in preserving their genealogies, and in 
this followed the example of their Teutonic and Celtic 
ancestors, who had their bards and scalds to record the 
exploits and descents of their chieftains/' This state- 
ment, however, is in direct contradiction to all we know 
of the Danish invaders of Gaul, whose ambition it became, 
from the first, to merge their nationality in that of their 
adopted country, and to obliterate, rather than to preserve, 
all traces of their Scandinavian origin.^ 

Still, the Norman Percies must have had an ancestor, 
and the legend of Mainfred the Dane may be accepted 
as well as another, though Mainfred de Percy is obviously 

We are not told how Mainfred signalised himself, or 

what ultimately became of him ; but a monkish genealogist 

of the fifteenth century speaks of his son as : — 

*• Rollo's associate that was called Jeffrey Percie 
A right valiant knight, gracious and fortunate, 
Whose father named Manfred was fallen into fate." * 

popularly attributed to RoUo are believed to have been the work of 
several distinct Danish chieftains engaged in these piratical expeditions. 
See Freeman's Norman Conquest^ voL i p. 187. 

« Contributed to the fifth edition of Collins's Peerage. In subsequent 
editions of that work the famDy history is considerably abridged. 

* A question has indeed been raised as to whether the Danes did 
not use Mainfred (Man-fried) as a woman's, and not as a man's name. 

3 Sir Francis Palgrave says of the Norman nobles that ** not one of 
their order ever thought of deducing his lineage from the Hersers 
or Jarls or Vikings who occupy so conspicuous a place in Norwegian 
history, not even through the medium of any traditional fable. The 
very name of Rollo's father — * Senex quidem in partibus Dacice ' — ^was 
unknown to Rollo's grandchildren, and if not known, worse than un- 
known, neglected." — History of En^nd and Normandy^ vol. i. p. 704. 

4 The Metrical Chronicle of the Percye Family^ by William Peeris, 

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He IS said to have been baptised, together with Rollo and a.d. 
a large number of his followers, by the Bishop of Rheims '®3^«oS 
in 912, and to have been the ancestor of four generations 
of Norman nobles who acquired fame and fortune in the 
military service of their princes/ 

There is perhaps no parallel in history to the rapid 
transition from barbarism to a state of comparatively 
high civilisation which marked the progress of the 
Danish adventurers who, in the beginning of the tenth 
century, made themselves masters of the northern coast 
of Gaul. While retaining unimpaired their warlike 
character, they lost no time in adopting the faith, the 
language, and, to a large extent, the more refined habits 
of their southern neighbours.* The Pagan chief became 
transformed into a Christian prince; his kinsmen and 
companions developed into territorial lords, and assumed 
the style and titles of the French nobility. The horde 
of reckless sea-rovers who had manned the pirate fleets 

clerk and priest. He was chaplain to the fifth Earl of Northumberland, 
and tells his readers that : 

"From the Conquest downe lineally my matter shall procede, 
And if it be not eligaunt yet a trew historie ye shall rede 3 *' 

a promise that is not fulfilled, for the work is full of inaccuracies. 

* I have been unable to verify the brilliant pedigree which genealogists 
have given to the Norman Percies before the Conquest, and therefore 
prefer to pass them over without special notice, agreeing as I do with 
a writer who, though by no means disposed to be partial (and who more 
than once is unjust) to the family, says : " Both ancient and illustrious 
is the descent, and it needs not to be exaggerated by the false glitter 
derived from the fictions of the poet, the legends of the monk, or the 
fanciful blazonry of the herald." — ^Tate's History of the Borough^ CastUy 
and Barony of Alnwick, vol. i p. no. 

* " Many of the Northmen were wearied of their piracy, the Romane 
tongue fascinated them, the comforts of France attracted them, religion 
subdued them. Their disposition was pliable, adaptable, cheerful, and ^ 
though fierce, not inherently bloodthirsty." — Palgrave, voL L p. 503. 

Wace dwells admiringly upon the stem execution done by Rollo upon 
all offenders against the law : — 

" Larrons e robeors feseit toz demembrer ; 
Crever ex, u ardre en pudre, u piez et puings coper ; 
Solonc lor felonie feseit chescun pesner." — Roman de Rou^ v. 1970. 


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A,D. settled down as industrious craftsmen and peaceful 
1030-1205 agriculturists ; and the fertile soil which their lawless 
valour had won developed into a prosperous and a 
powerful state. 

When a century and a half after RoUo's accession to 
his dukedom his reigning descendant prepared to invade 
England, the Canton of Perci in Lower Normandy was 
held by three powerful nobles, of whom one, William, 
fifth in descent from Rollo's companion, and described as 
Comte de Caux and de Poictiers, owned the Chiteau de 
Perci near Villedieu in the Department of La Manche, 
the site of which is to this day pointed out to travellers 
as the birthplace of the founders of the English 

According to our rhyming genealogist it was this noble- 
man who accompanied Duke William in his invasion of 
England,' but no such titles occur in the lists of Us 
grands who landed with the Conquerer, and it is far more 
probable that it was a cadet of this house who settled 
in England. There is indeed nothing on record to 
establish the identity of the founder of the English 
Percies. That he belonged to a family of rank and 
' importance, is clearly indicated by the position accorded 
to him immediately after the Conquest, and the large 

» " There were three very important castles in the canton of Percy, 
each appertaining to the head of a very powerful family, and pre-eminent 

amongst these the Roche Tessons two of whom were 

at the battle of Hastings, but we hear nothing of them in England 
afterwards." — Palgrave, vol. ii. p. 159. This is a mistake. A Tison, or 
Tisson, received large grants of land in the north of England, and 
the name is found in juxtaposition with that of William de Perci in 
Domesday Book. 

■ We are told that this Count de Caux was — 

" With William the Conqueror in favour specially \ 
He found none more steadfaste among his Councill ; 
For his merits and manhood he loved him cordially, 
And into the Boreal partes he with him did resort ; 
A noble lady caused him to marry named Emma de Port." 

Peeris's Metrical Chronide. 

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grants of land he then received. All else is mere a.d. 
conjecture or assumption.' It must be borne in mind ^^^Q-'^^S 
that although the contribution of men, money, and ships 
towards the invasion was universal on the part of the 
Norman nobles, of whom a considerable number em- 
barked with William, and shared the dangers of the 
enterprise, comparatively few remained in the conquered 
country. They had, as a rule, done homage in advance 
for the lands they were to receive in return for their 
contributions or services,' but there was little to tempt 
them permanently to abandon their fair possessions, and 
to exchange the fertile fields and stately mansions of 
Normandy ^ for a new home under the inclement sky of 
a wild and uncultivated region, and the companionship of 
an alien, and in their eyes, a barbarous people.* Most 
of them accordingly, after having done their duty as 
brave soldiers in the field, obtained the King's consent to 

* One writer is driven to argue that William de Percy would never 
have displayed the violent temper and impatience of opposition for 
which he was noted ** had he not been the head of the Percy family, 
not only here in England, but in Normandy, and feared not the con- 
trol of any relations whatever." — History of Whitby Abbey^ by Lionel 
Charlton, 1772. 

* These grants enabled them to make liberal provision for the younger 
or more remote members of their families, to whom the sacrifice of 
home comforts and associations was compensated for by the prospect 
of acquiring wealth and influence abroad, and who were doubtless 
willing to become, what the beati possidentes rarely do, the pioneers of 
civilisation in a foreign land, and the founders of a new social and 
political system. 

3 William of Malmesbury contrasts the coarse prodigality of the 
Anglo-Saxon nobles, who in squalid houses wasted their substance in 
gluttonous living, with the fhigal refinement of the same class in 
Normandy, who occupied "noble and splendid mansions." — Gesta 
Regum Anglorum^ Hardy, p. 448. 

* The Norman invaders looked upon the inhabitants of Britain much 
as the Gauls had looked upon Rollo's companions a hundred and fifty 
years before, though with less respect. William of Poictou, one of the 
Conquerw's companions, in describing the battle of Hastings, says: 
" The cries of the Normans on the one side, and of the Barbarians on 
the other, were drowned by the clashing of arms and the groans of the 

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iLD. return to their homes,' leaving the younger and more 
1030-1205 adventurous members of their families with such of their 
retainers as they chose to spare to manage the lands they 
had acquired. 

It must not however be supposed that the military 
commanders at the Conquest mainly comprised the 
members of the noble houses of Normandy. The great 
bulk of the officers of William's army of invasion con- 
sisted of men of neither gentle nor Norman blood,* 
but of mercenaries drawn from all parts of Europe by 
the prospect of pay and plunder. These professional 
adventurers and hireling free-lances could not have 
been excluded from their fair share in the partition 
of those lands which their swords had won ; and it is to 
this class of colonists rather than to the Norman nobility 
that the great majority of Englishmen who boast descent 
from the army of the Conqueror must be content to look 
N ^. or their ancestors. 

At* the period of the Conquest, and indeed down to 

* The remonstrances of their wives, who were strenuously ppposed 
to any scheme of emigration, were probably not without effect, more 
especially as these ladies threatened that if their lords did not speedily 
return to their own country, ** they would be driven to seek out other 
consorts for themselves." — Freeman, voL ii p. 231. 

Brady states that the Norman nobles ** sorrowfully and unwDlingly 
deserted the King " after the Conquest had been achieved, and that 
even among the inferior soldiery many, " wearied with the desolations of 
the country, importimed him for their refreshment that they might retiun 
to their fixed residences, which he willingly granted, and dismissed 
them with a plentiful reward for their services." — Hist of England^ 
voL L p. 194. 

" " The Anglo-Saxons seem to have had a very strong aristocratic 
feeling, and great regard for purity and dignity of blood. The Nor- 
mans, or rather the host of adventurers whom we must comprehend 
under the name of Normans^ had comparatively little ; and not very 
many of the real old and powerful aristocracy,- whether of Normandy 

or of Brittany, settled in England No one circumstance more 

vexed the spirit of the English than to see their fair maidens and 
widows compelled to accept these despicable adventurers as their 
husbands. Of this we have an example in Lucia, the daughter of 
Algar, for Talboys seems to have been a person of the lowest 
degree." — Palgrave, vol. iii. p. 480. 


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much later times, surnames* were rare, both among a.d. 
Normans and Saxons; and by a perfectly natural ^^S^^^S 
process men called themselves after their birthplaces or 
family properties, their professions, trades, or handicrafts, 
and not unfrequently by names indicative of some 
personal peculiarity. 

Thus our Norman William would distinguish himself 
from innumerable other colonists of the same baptismal 
name by adding the name of his paternal estate, upon 
the same principle as Jean, the Norman smith who shod 
his horses, would call himself Jean le Ferrier.* 

The distinguishing appellative thus adopted would 
descend from father to son, and survive long after all 
trace of its original meaning had been lost.^ 

One of England's greatest historical families thus 
derives its name from a castle on the coast of Normandy 
of which no trace now remains, and with which the 
immediate founder of that race was but indirectly asso- 
ciated. Not only, however, may we safely assume that 
the first of the English Percies was but a cadet of the 

* We find the words Sur-noms and Sire-noms used distinctively; 
the former being applied to names assumed on purely personal grounds, 
and the latter when derived from territorial possessions, in which cases, as 
a rule, the name descended from father to son. 

» The practice of shoeing horses, . though at least as old as the 
Roman Empire (according to Suetonius, Nero's wife, Poppeia, shod her 
mules with silver shoes), had been first introduced into England by the 
Conqueror, a high officer of whose court is said to have been charged 
with the direction and superintendence of this craft after the invasion. 
The noble house of Ferrers, who bear a horse-shoe on their coat-of-arms, 
are reputed to be descended from this person, 

3 *« When a Norman who bore the name of his birthplace or possession 
in Normandy, Robert of Bruce or William of Percy, found himself the 
possessor of far greater estates in England than in Normandy, when his 
main interests were no longer Norman but English, his Norman surname 
ceased to be really descriptive. It became a mere arbitrary hereditary 
surname; it no longer suggested the original Norman holding; it remained 
in use, even if the Norman holding passed away from the family. When a 
Bruce or a Percy had lost his original connection with the place Bruce or 
Percy, when the man no longer suggested a thought of the place, Bruce 
or Percy became strictly surnames in the modem sense." — Freeman. 

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A.D. Norman house/ but there is some reason to doubt 
1030-1205 ^hejhgj. William de Percy actually accompanied the 
Conqueror or took part in the battle of Hastings. 

There is so much diversity in the several lists 
which have been put forth as copies of the original roll 
of Battle Abbey (lost or destroyed at a very early 
period) that they must all be viewed with more or less 
suspicion as to their authenticity. In some of these 
the name of Percy appears/ in others we meet with 
names so similar that they may have been intended for 
it; 3 in others, again, it is altogether absent* There 
is certainly no mention of it in any contemporary docu- 
ment ; and later historians, writing after the Percies had 
become a family of note and military reputation, would 
be apt to assume the active participation of its founder 

» It has been stated that WUliam de Percy was a feudatdty of the 
great Norman house of Pagnell, lords of one of the three Seigneuries 
which composed the canton of Perci, and that it was to him that the 
Conqueror had granted the lands which afterwards became vested in 
the Percies. See Plumpton Papers edited by Thomas Stapleton. For 
the first statement, however, there is no authority, and as regards the lands 
it is entirely contrary to established facts. 

• In the Brampton Chronicle (a.d. i 149) we find the name in a list 
headed : '^ Cognomines eorum qui cum Guillelmo Conquestore Angliam 
ingressi sunt," bracketed with Cruce (? Curcy) and Lacy. It also 
occurs in a paper entiled : " Sumoms des lynages de graundes de ceux 
que vendrount avec William le Conquerour en Engleterre " (Cotton MSS, 
Julius, R 12, fol. 36), but the handwriting assigns this document to the 
sixteenth century. Again it is met with in the lists entitled : Magnates 
superstates and Catalogus nobilium in Duchesne's works, as also in the 
Dives Roll^ which purports to be a list of Duke William's officers, " non 
plus au point d'arriv^e mais au point de depart de Tarm^ Normande," 
in other words, the Conqueror's Embarkation-Return, which, if 
authentic^ would be conclusive evidence. This document was recently 
published by the Archaeological Society of France, and the names 
contained in it were, in 1862, engraved upon the eastern wall in the 
Church of Dives, at which port the invading army embarked for England. 
The names, 461 in number, occupy a space of twenty-four square 
metres. Holinshead's List contains 646 names, and that headed 
"Sumoms de Graundes" only 165. 

3 As in Leland's List, where we find the Sires de Pacy and Percehay. 

♦ The name does not occur in Holinshead's List nor in several of 
those published in Duchesne's Historice Normannorum Scriptores 


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in the Conquest of England and include the name, with a.d. 
that of others under similar conditions, without any 1030-1096 
stronger evidence or corroboration than probability. 

A contemporary chronicler does, however, state 
very distinctly that " Hugo d'Avranches (King William's 
nephew, and afterwards Earl of Chester) and William 
de Percy came into England in 1067," i.e. the year after 
the Conquest.^ It is not to be believed that this writer 
could possibly have been mistaken in the date of such a 
national event as the invasion of England, nor does the 
addition of the words "with William the Conqueror'' 
alter the case ; for the King had passed into Normandy 
in the spring of that year and had returned to England 
in the autumn. If it be asked how one who had taken no 
part in the Conquest came to share the fruits of victory, 
to be rewarded with large grants of territory, and to be 
placed at once in a position of exceptional power and in- 
fluence in the North of England, the answer that sug- 
gests itself is that William de Percy, like many other 
Norman gentlemen whose immigration into his dominions 
had been encouraged by King Edward the Confessor, 
had previously been a settler in England. On the first 
threatening of hostilities Harold had expelled these 
colonists as dangerous subjects,' but when the country 

' ** Memorandum quod anno Domini miilesimo sexagesimo septimo 
Hugo comes Cestrensis et Willielmus de Percy venerunt in Angliam 
cum domino Willielmo Conquestore." — Ex Registro Cartarutn 
Abbatict de Whittebye, — Monast, AngL vol. L p. 409. 
• " Normanz ki el paiz maneient 

Ki fames et enfanz aveint, 

Ke Ewart i aveit mendz, 

£ granz chastels € fieus dunez 

Fist Heraut de paiz chacier." — Roman de Rouy v. 11076. 
Which may be rendered : 

Normans who lived in that country 

With their wives and children, 

Whom Edward had invited over, 

To whom he showed favour and granted castles and lands, 

Harold sent out of the country. 


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A.D. fyi into the hands of the Normans they would naturally 
1030-1205 enough return to claim their possessions. 

There are indeed several circumstances that tend to 
confirm this supposition. Percy s earnest intercession 
on behalf of Earl Gospatrick, when he led the Northum- 
berland revolt in 1069, was quite in character with the 
disposition of one who had formerly associated on terms 
of friendship with the conquered race, but would have 
been foreign to the nature of William's arrogant soldiery. 
There are other indications of his sympathy with the 
oppressed population, and King William would not 
have been insensible to the advantage of encouraging 
a Norman gentleman possessed of local knowledge, ex- 
perience, and influence, to settle in the most disturbed 
and disaffected district of his new dominions. 

Again, colonists are apt to adopt the outward habits of 
those among whom they live, and it is evident, from the 
fact of his countrymen having given him the sobriquet of 
Als Gemonsy^ that Percy had followed the Anglo-Saxon 
fashion of letting his whiskers grow, a practice entirely 
at variance with the habits of the Normans.* 

William de Percy married a Saxon lady of rank, but 
there are no records to establish her parentage. She 

» By a far-fetched derivation Gemons is described as a Norman cor- 
ruption of the Latin granu signifying any kind of beard grown on 
the face. (See Du Cange, Glossarum, t iii. p. 554.) Als or ohite- 
gemons would thus be synonymous with aux moustaches, or d la Barbe, 
which latter was the sobriquet borne by one of the Conqueror's com- 
panions named in the Roman de Rou, The ancient by-name was, four 
centuries later, introduced into the Percy family under the softened form 
of Algernon, and has since become a generally popular baptismal name 
in England, 

« Carte asserts that the Anglo-Saxons considered the Normans 
effeminate because of their smooth faces (as represented in the Bayeux 
tapestry) ; and Speed states that after a time the conquered race, fol- 
lowing tiie example of their masters, " did shave their beardes, round 
their haire, and in garment, behaviour and diet altogether unfashioned 
themselves to imitate them." — Hist, of England, p. 422. 


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is generally described as Emma de Port/ the Norman a.d. 
surname having probably been given to her by the in- ^030-1096 
vaders in right of her ownership of Semer near Scar- 
borough, then an important seaport. A graceful legend 
reports her to have been a daughter of Gospatrick, 
Earl of Northumberland,* who conferred her hand 
upon the Norman knight in recompense for his having 
saved her father's life when, on the suppression 
of the rebellion, he had fallen into the hands of the 
Conqueror's army. According to Dugdale, however, 
the Saxon Earl had only one daughter, Julia, who 
became the wife of Ranulph de Marley, and we 
must fall back upon this more prosaic version of 
Percy's marriage in an ancient MS. : " Emma of 
the Porte .... was Lady of Semer besides Skar- 
burgh afore the Conquest, and of other lands, William 
Conqueror gave to Syr William Percye for his good 
service ; and he weddid hyr that was very heir to them 
in discharging of his conscience." ^ 

We may thus infer that Percy having received a 
grant of the lands of which the Saxon maiden had 
been either the owner or the heiress, he compensated 
her for the loss of her possessions by making her 
his wife. 

Although in the first instance the oppressive in- 
fluence of Norman rule had been less felt by the 
population of the North than in other parts of Eng- 
land, Gospatrick's rebellion in 1069 led to an almost . 

» The same name was borne by one of William's knights at the 
invasion : 

*• Hue, le sire de Montfort, 
Cil d'Espine and cil de Port" — Roman de Rou 

• Charlton's History of Whitby Abbey, p. 50. 

3 Ex Registro Monasterii de Whitbye, Harl. MSB. No. 692 (26), foL 
235, fix)m which extracts are published in the Antiquarian Repertory, 
vol. iv. p. 4. 


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A.D. universal confiscation of lands in Northumbria ' and 
1030-1205 M^rcia^ where William's soldiery became nearly exclu- 
sively the lords of the soil. By far the largest share 
in this distribution fell to Hugh Lupus, the Conqueror's 
nephew and chief commander of the forces employed in 
suppressing the revolt. He showed little inclination, 
however, to settle in a district which he had been 
mainly instrumental in reducing to a desert," and which 
was by nature barren and arid, and **in a manner 
separated by wild moors from all the rest of England." ^ 
He accordingly disposed of his lands in the North to 
his friend and companion in arms, William de Percy 
(who had already obtained considerable grants from the 
King), first as would appear at a quit rent, but, not long 
after, absolutely on the same terms as he had held 
them from the Crown.* 

Undeterred by the ruin and desolation around him, 
and by the sullen attitude of the conquered and down- 
trodden population,^ William de Percy made himself a 

» The ancient kingdom of Northumbria, be it remembered, which 
had extended from the Humber to the Forth (Edinburgh being then a 
Border Fortress), was, at the time of the Conquest, reduced to the 
territories lying between the Tyne and the Tweed. 

• Such was the destruction caused by the Conqueror's ruthless re- 
taliation, that there remained according to the ancient historian '' Inter 
Eboracum et Dunelmtun nusquam viUa inhabitata, bestiarum tantum 
et latronum latibula, magno itinerantibus fuere timorL" — Sinuonis 
Dunelmensis ffistoria, Twisden*s Edition, vol. i. p. 199. 

This is fully confirmed by William of Malmesbury, who says : " Si 
quis modo videt peregrinus, ingemuit ; si quis superest vetus incola, non 
agnoscit," p. 258. Palgrave says that at the close of William's reign 
''the whole tract between York and Durham continued a desolate 
desert bounded by a wide circuit of ruins." 

3 Charlton's History of Whitby Abbey. 

♦ The grant comprised the Town and Port of Whitby with the sur- 
rounding lands. "Conquestor dedit praedicto Hugoni villam de Whittebye 
cum omnibus suis membris ; et idem Hugo dedit praedicto Willielmo 
de Percy omnia prsedicta terras et tenementa, sibi et hseredibus suis, 
ita liberl et quiets sicut pradictus Hugo ea habuit ex dono Regis.^ — Ex 
Registro Cartarum Abbatia de Whitbyey Monast AngL p. 409. 

5 Thierry's description of the condition to which the Anglo-Saxons 


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home in the wilderness, found occupation for the starving a.d. 
people, built and fortified the castles of Spofforth and '^3^®9o 
Topcliflfe, which long remained the principal seats of his 
descendants,' and laid the foundation of that influence 
and reputation in the northern counties which became 
the pride and the birthright of many future generations 
of his name and lineage. 

Our forefathers required none of those specious pre- 
texts under cover of which modern political morality is 
prone to justify the wrongs which, in the exercise of 
superior power, of ambition, or acquisitiveness it inflicts 
upon others. Duke William's contemplated attack upon 
an unoffending neighbour, far from arousing the indigna- 
tion of other states, had received the formal sanction 
of the head of the Church ; the bloodshed and rapine 
which marked the Conqueror's progress called forth no 
reproof or remonstrance from Rome, and the crown of 
which he had robbed his kinsman was placed upon the 

were reduced by the conquerors, although considered to be exaggerated, 
is so graphic that no excuse will be needed for this quotation : " II faut 
s'imaginer deux nations, les Anglais d'origine et les Anglais par inva- 
sion, divis^ sur le m^rae pays, ou plut6t se figurer deux pays dans 
une condition bien diflKrente : la terre des Normands riche et Tranche 
de taillages, celle des Saxons pauvre, serve et grev^e de cens; la 
premiere gamie de vastes hdtels, de chiteaux mures et cr^neles; 
la seconde parsem^e de cabanes de chaume ou de masures d^gra- 
d6ts; celle-Ut peupl^e d'heureux et d'oisifs, de gens de guerre et 
de cour, de nobles et de chevaliers ; celleci peupl^e d'hommes de peine 
et de travail, de fermiers et d*artisans. Sur Tune, le luxe et Tinsolence, 
sur Tautre, la misfere et Tenvie, non pas Tenvie du pauvre k la vue des 
richesses d'autrui, mais Tenvie du d^pouillds en presence de ses 
spoliateurs. Enfin, pour achever le tableau, ces deux terres sont, en 
quelque sorte, entrelac^ Tune dans Tautre, elles se touchent par tous 
les points, et cependant elles sont plus distinctes qui si la mer roulait 
entres elles. La terre des riches parle la langue romane des provinces 
gauloises d'outre Loire, tandis que I'ancienne langue du pays reste 
aux foyers des pauvres et des serfs." — Histoiredela Conquite tP AngUterre 
par Us Normands^ vol. ii. 30, 31. 

« Sec Surtees's Durham^ voL iv. p. 274. Also Camden. 


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A.D. usurper's brow by the hands of special envoys deputed 
1 030-1205 f^j. j^jg service by the Holy Father. 

The prelates of Normandy were, however, less in- 
dulgent to the crime of their ruler. Whatever their 
motive may have been, it should be recorded in their 
honour, that with one accord they had raised their voices 
against the injustice and cruelty of the invasion, and by 
honest and unsparing censure had borne " that testimony 
against the unchristianity of war so rarely afforded'* ' in 
an age when force was the standard measure of legality, 
and success seldom failed to sanction wrong. 

To exact restitution was beyond their power, perhaps 
beyond their wishes ; but by the imposition of a general 
penance upon all persons, without distinction of rank, who 
had taken part in the conquest of England, the Norman 
clergy aroused the conscience of the evil doers in the 
hour of their triumph, and by the assertion of their 
authority, if they did not relieve the victims, advanced 
the cause of the faith. 

Contrition in those days generally took the practical 
form of donations to the Church, and the sincerity of 
repentance was now measured by the extent of the 
surrender of their share of the spoil by the conquerors, 
for the purpose of founding religious houses. 

Subsequently it became a fashion among the Normans 
settled in England to build monasteries and convents 
within their territories, since these establishments added 
to their importance and local influence ; but, at the time 
of which we are treating, there is little doubt but that the 
large contributions offered were due, if not to devotion 
or remorse, at any rate to a superstitious hope of thus 
atoning for past offences and averting the censure of 
the Church. 

William de Percy became conspicuous for the liberality 

* Palgrave, vol. iii. 485. 

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^^^■^•.L.i J^^^P-^W^W 






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of his endowments.* When Reinfred, an old companion a.d. 
in arms,* who had now taken the cowl and joined a ^°3^o9o 
Benedictine fraternity at Evesham in Worcestershire, 
visited him and prayed permission to build a monastery 
on his land, Percy, " greatly pleased with his new and 
unexpected guest, made him all the assistance that 
lay in his power .... received him honorably, and 
engaged to support so laudable an undertaking.^ 

There yet remained at that time near the town of 
Whitby a few broken columns and moss-grown blocks 
of masonry, to mark the site of the once stately Abbey 
of St. Hilda founded in 675, but which had been *• 
destroyed by the Danes under Bruem* two hundred 
years later. This was the spot now chosen for the 
erection of a new monastery, of which Reinfred the 
soldier-priest became prior about 1076.^ 

A monk named Stephen, who joined the brother- 
hood, has left a quaint and interesting history of the 
new foundation and of its early struggles.*^ He paints 
his patron in very unfavourable colours, and represents 

« " William de Percy was naturally of a religious disposition, perhaps 
not altogether without a tincture of superstition. He revered the clergy 
as Christ's vicegerents upon earth, and considered the monks as a neces- 
sary order of men to help us on our way heavenwards, who, on account 
of their fervent piety and devotion, were siure to entail the Divine blessing 
on such of the laity as lived near them." — Charlton's W?Utby Abbey. 

• According to the Metrical Chronicle^ Reinfred was a cousin of 
Wlliam de Percy. 3 Charlton's Whitby Abbey. 

4 It was during this irruption that the Danish pirates, to avenge 
the cruel death of Lodebrac, the father of Henger (who had been 
thrown into a pit filled with venomous serpents), attacked another 
neighbouring convent, when all the younger nuns, by the advice of 
theu: abbess, cut off their lips and noses to save themselves from 
being dishonoured by the invaders. Bruem thereupon declared them 
to be too ugly to live, and shutting them up in their cells, set fire to the 
building. — Ibid. 

5 « William de Percy, well-pleased with Reinfred and his fraternity, 
soon after their first settling at Whitby put them in possession of 
two carucates, or 240 acres, of land adjoining to their monastery." 

• The Chronicle of Whitby Abbey. Bodleian Library. 

VOL. I. 17 C 

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A.D. himself as having been hardly used ; but as, subsequently 
1030-1205 ^^ j^jg YemovBl from Whitby, we find him involved 
in angry disputes with his archbishop, and engaged in 
protracted litigation with his neighbours, we may con- 
clude that he was not himself altogether free from blame, 
and accept his testimony with some qualification. 

Stephen complains that when William de Percy, 
quidam ex Baronibus Regis ^ found that '* the monks 
had converted the lands he had granted them, and 
which were then only inhabited by wild beasts and 
birds of prey, from a desert into fertile fields and 
smiling^ gardens, he repented him of the good he had 
done us, and strove as much as possible to mischief 
us both by himself and followers in order to make 
us fly from it ; and late one night, having collected 
together a company of thieves and pirates, he came 
before us and forced us to abandon our dwelling ; took 
everything away we had, and such as fell into his 
hands he transported into unknown countries. ..." 

To seek redress for these outrages Stephen states 
that he crossed into Normandy, where the king then 
was, and having lodged his complaint, succeeded in 
obtaining a royal command to be reinstated in all his 
rights ; but that ** after that time the rage and malice of 
William de Percy was much more vehement against 
us, and he never allowed us to pass one day quietly 
till he had driven us away from Whitby. . . . 

** What needs more ? Necessity so requiring it, 
and being overpowered with continual oppression, and 
harassed with the inevitable violence of the so-often- 
mentioned William de Percy, who had so publicly 
and unjustly taken away Whitby from us, we retired to 

" We " being evidently Stephen and a party attached 
to him, for it does not appear that Reinfred or his 


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original fraternity ever left Whitby ; but it is probable a.d. 
that the Norman knight possessed that headstrong ^°3^o9 
character and impatience of opposition popularly 
ascribed to certain of his descendants. Charlton says 
apologetically : — 

"It is true that William de Percy seems to have 
been of a haughty and choleric disposition ; but I am of 
opinion that he never could have behaved so injuriously 
to any ecclesiastic without having had great provocation." 

Be this as it may, the religious zeal of the founder 
of Whitby Abbey seems to have been of a somewhat 
capricious nature. On Reinfred's death William de 
Percy's brother Serlo, who had also by this time 
exchanged the sword for the gown, who is said to have 
been a man of considerable learning, and who had 
held office in the royal household, and been the friend 
and companion in arms (probably, considering the dif- 
ference of their ages, the tutor or governor) of Prince 
William,' the heir to the crown, succeeded to the Priory 
of Whitby by the unanimous vote of the brotherhood. 
On his election his brother confirmed the original grant, 
but a dispute subsequently arose between them, and 
notwithstanding the full rights that he had formally 
conferred by his charter, he now granted a large portion 
of the lands attached to the monastery to his faithful 
esquire, Ralf, afterwards (by right of his possession of 
one of those properties) Ralf de Eversley, a name that 
was honourably borne by his knightly descendants 
through many generations. 

Serlo lost no time in appealing to the king (Rufus 
had by this time succeeded to the throne) who com- 
manded William de Percy to desist from his claim, but 

' " Familiaris ejus et socius amantissimus, quum ipsi juvenes milites 
essent in domo et in curia Willelmi patris ejus." — HaH, MSS. 
No. 293, foL 35. 

19 C 2 

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A.D. the old baron appears to have disregarded the royal 
1030-1205 5^y^|^Qj.j^y . fQ,. ^^ 3j.^ ^qIj thj^i; Serlo ** being desirous 

to be at a distance from his brother William, and to live 
on the demesnes of the king, lest his brother should 
offer him some injury or use him reproachfully, removed 
to Hacknesse," * and that even there he was not free 
from persecution. 

William Peeris in his Metrical Chronicle takes part 
against his own order in this quarrel, and states that 
Serlo had forged a title to the charter of Whitby " to 
entitle the king as founder," for which sin God had pun- 
ished and ruefully vexed him by " a contagious canker." 

Towards the end of his life however William de 
Percy determined to make his peace with the Church, 
and having become reconciled with his brother he issued 
a new charter confirming all the original grants except 
Eversley. This was subsequently supplemented by a royal 
charter, to which Percy's name is appended as a witness, 
and by which the prior and brotherhood are granted " all 
liberties and privileges over whatever land they may have 
acquired or may acquire as also over all their homagers 
wheresoever dwelling, as absolutely and freely as the 
royal power hath granted or can grant them to any 
church whatsoever." * 

Having thus freed his conscience, William de Percy, 
in further atonement for past offences, joined Duke 
Robert of Normandy in the first Crusade. He reached 
the Holy Land and died in sight of Jerusalem in the 
autumn of 1096.^ He was buried at Antioch, but his 

» Charlton. 

' Appendix I. See also Dugdale, Monast Anglican, vol. i. 412, where 

all the charters relating to the foundation of Whitby Abbey are recited. 

3 ** Nobilissimus Wilhelmus de Perci, Jerosolamiam petens, apud 

locum qui vocatur mons Gaudii qui est in Provincia Jerosolymitima, 

migravit ad Dominum, ibique a suis honorifice sepultus est" — 

S Memorials of Fountain^ Abbey ^ Surtees Society. 


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heart was brought to England and laid in the abbey A.a 
he had there founded. 1030-1096 

Serlo survived till 1102, and before his death suc- 
ceeded in getting his nephew, William de Percy,' 
nominated his successor as abbot, not in considera- 
tion, as we are told, of any exceptional learning or 
piety, but for the more worldly reason that the monks 
would find him " the properest person for getting their 
possessions confirmed, and giving them an addition to 
their present power." ' 

« « 

Within twenty years after the Conquest, the great 
work of William's reign, the land survey of his new 
kingdom, which has served to throw so strong and 
clear a light upon the social history of that period, 
had been completed. 

From these records we learn that in 1085 William 
de Percy was the holder in capite^ of no less than 
eighty-six lordships in the North Riding of Yorkshire, 
exclusive of Whitby,^ of thirty-two lordships in Lincoln- 
shire, and of other lands in Essex and in Hampshire.' 

The actual extent of these possessions it is impos- 
sible to estimate with any approach to accuracy, since 

» According to Charlton, this nephew of William and Serlo de Percy 
came over from Normandy in 1096, accompanied by his sister, who 
married, first, Hugh de Borthorp, near Semar, and secondly, Reginald 
Bucel, of Ouston Bucel. 

« Stephen's Chrotdde of Wht'Oy. 

3 He waf at this time still sub-tenant for certain lands held under 
the Earl of Chester, which he subsequently obtained in capite, — See 
Domesday Book^ i 305. 

4 The Deanery of Craven is stated at the time of the Conquest to 
have comprised 600 square miles, five-sixths of which was waste land. 
The Percy fee in Craven was equal to 17,400 statute acres, and 
stretched twenty-five miles from north to south. — See Whitaker's 
History of Craven, 

5 The recital of William de Percy's lands in Domesday Book occupies 
ten and a half closely-printed columns. — See vol. i fols. 322 and 354. 


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A.D. Domesday only gives the measurement of the arable 
1030-1205 i^j^j 1 whereas moor, woodland, and forest then formed 
the principal portion of the territory in the north of 
England. Equally difficult it is to arrive at the value 
of these lands ; the fishieries must, however, have been 
important sources of revenue, and the forests formed 
the feeding-ground of innumerable herds of hogs." The 
money value of game, which was strictly preserved, 
must also have been considerable. 

The quantity of land required to constitute a knight's 
fee, and again the number of knights fees that went 
to compose a barony, appear then to have been quite 
undetermined by any established rule or principle. 
Indeed the grant of land held by knight's service, though 
it placed the holder in the position of a gentleman, did 
not in itself confer knighthood ; nor did the possession 
of a barony confer the privileges or degree of baron, 
since " nobody could confer titles of honour besides the 
king, or persons having power and authority from him." ^ 
It is thus difficult to compute the dignity and influence 
which the possession of landed property then represented. 
Authorities differ widely as to the number of knights' 
fees created by the Conqueror. According to Madox 
these exceeded thirty thousand ; Vitalis puts them as 
high as fifty thousand, while modern writers contend 
that the revenue derived from scutage in the reign of 
the second William has been ascertained with sufficient 
approximation to accuracy to prove that the actual 


» The standard measure, the car^cute (which was supposed to repre- 
sent as much arable land as could* be worked by one plough and its 
team of oxen), not only varied in different counties, ranging from eighty 
to 150 acres, but seems to have fluctuated with the quality of the soil 

* The value of timber was rudely assessed, not by the measurement 
of the trees, but by an estimate of the number of swine that could lie 
under their shade. 

3 Madox, Baronia Anglica, 


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numbers of knights' fees could not have exceeded two a.d. 
or three thousand. 1030-1096 

The latter estimate is probably far more below than 
the former ones are above the truth, for as a very 
considerable number of William's immediate kinsmen 
and chieftains individually held a hundred, a hundred 
and fifty, and in some cases even three hundred knights' 
fees, they alone would have absorbed the full extent of 
the number allowed by the modern computation/ 

William de Percy is stated to have held thirty-two 
knights' fees,* and there is no doubt whatever that he 
was very shortly after William's accession to the English 
throne summoned to his councils as a baron of the 
realm. His name is among the first in a " Catalogus 
nobilium qui immediate praelia a rege conquestore 
tenuerunt," ^ and again among the " Magnates superstites 
anno xx Regni Willelmi Conquestoris et quibus in comit- 
ibus terras tenuerunt ; " * and though CoUins's statement 
that he had held the office of Magnus Constabularius — 
a post almost invariably filled by noblemen of the highest 
rank — rests upon questionable authority,* the fact of his 

» " Suppose King William the First granted to Alan, Earl of Bretagne, 
an honour in Engird of 140 knights' fees, plus minus : to Hugh Bigot, 
Earl of Norfolk, an honour composed of 125 knights' fees; to the 
Bishop of Worcester an honour made up of sixty knights* fees ; to 
Monsieur de Percy a barony of thirty knights' fees ; to Monsieur Malet, 
Chevalier, two knights' fees, &a .... in brief, to so many persons, 
so many knights' fees as might amount to 32,000 or same other such 
number'* — Madoz, Baronia Angliau 

* A knight's fee under the Conqueror comprised the obligation of 
furnishing the king with one armed soldier for forty days in each year, 
besides contributions in aid of royal marriages and laige pa3rments 
under the head of what is now called succession duty. Under Henry 
the Second it was allowed to be commuted into a money payment of 
twenty shillings. 

3 Duchesne. * Ibid, 

5 The statement appears in an anonymous paper in the Harleian MSS. 
(No. 293, foL 3S), but it is doubtful whether such an office as Lord 
High Constable of England existed under the early Norman kings. 

VOL. I. 23 

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A.D. having stood high in the royal confidence as a baron 
1030-1205 ^f ^Yie realm is established by irrefutable evidence. 

# # 

History records but little to throw light upon the 
lives of the next three generations of the Percies. We 
are not even informed for what achievements Alan, 
the second baron, was by his contemporaries honoured 
with the surname of " the great" ' He probably gained 
military distinction. in the wars waged by Henry I. in 
Normandy and France, and the high consideration in 
which he was held is sufficiently attested by his marriage 
with a lady nearly allied to the royal house of England, 
Emma de Gant, a grandniece of the Conqueror." 

By this alliance he came into possession of consi- 
derable additional lands, including the lordship of 
Hunmanby in Yorkshire. 

Alan de Percy left seven sons,^ of whom a younger 
one, Walter of Rugemont, became a baron in his own 
right,* while William, the eldest, succeeded him as third 
Baron of Percy. AH that we know of him is that he 
founded the Abbey of Handel, gave to the monks of 
Whitbye the church of Semar, and two ox-gangs of 
land in Up-Lytham, and married Alice, the daughter of 
Everard de Ros or Rous.* 

This is the William de Percy whom the modem 

' His donations to Whitby Abbey and other religious houses are in 
the various charters described as the grants " Magni Alani." — MonasL 

» A daughter of Gilbert de Gant, and granddaughter of Baldwin, 
Earl of Flanders, Queen Matilda's brother. 

3 So say the modem genealogists on the strength of names which 
appear in various family documents of this period, but the character of 
the relationship of these Percies to the head of the house is by no 
means clearly established. Dugdale enumerates only five sons, whereas 
other tables quote as many as eight 

4 " Walter de Per(y^ Baronus " is one of the seventeen subscribers to 
a charter under King Stephen. See Selden's Titles of Honor^ voL iil 
p. 718. 

5 Dugdale's Baronage. 


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genealogists ignore, but who, according to the more a.d. 
ancient writers, including the Monk of Whitby e,' the ^^ ?2f'33 
author of a memoir of the founders of that abbey, was 
the son and heir of Alan the Great, and the father of 
a Richard de Percy, mis-called fourth baron. This 
Richard, if he ever existed, would appear to have been 
a younger brother, and not a son, of the third baron, 
who was succeeded by his only son William, the fourth 
in direct descent from the Conquest* 

The usurpation of the crown by Stephen had pro- 
duced a disturbed political atmosphere perfectly con- 
genial to the lawless and aggressive mood of the Norman 
barons, who, conscious of their strength during this crisis, 
took full advantage of the occasion to consolidate their 
powers and to extort new privileges from the hopes or 
fears of the king. In the northern counties, in particular, 
the lords of the soil now arrogated to themselves the 
status of independent princes ; imposed taxes, and levied ^ 
forces upon their individual responsibility ; fortified their 
castles without asking the royal licence, and made raids 
upon each other, or combined to carry war into the neigh- 
bouring kingdom. The native population had by this time 
ceased to maintain even a passive resistance towards their 
Norman masters, and had, from the necessity of their 
position, become a hardy and disciplined race of soldiers, 
ever ready to draw sword at the command of those who, 
by the sword, had despoiled and subjugated them. 

In the dynastic struggle which ensued William de 
Percy took the side of the usurper ; and when King 
David of Scotland led an army across the border on behalf 
of the rights of his kinswoman, the Empress Maud, he 

« Harldan MSS. No. 692 (26), foL 235. 

* Camden refers to this baron as the ''great grandson" of the 
William de Percy who came over with the Conqueror. — See Briianniay 
vol. i. p. 241. 


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A.D. was one of the chief commanders of Stephen's army/ 
1030-1205 ^j^j materially contributed to .the defeat and rout of the 
Scots at Northallerton in 1137. Prominent among the 
chieftains opposed to him in this action was his kinsman 
Alan,? than whom no soldier was better loved and 
trusted by the Scottish king ; for his military skill and 
judgment were reputed to be equal to the valour for 
which he was renowned, and had not his advice been 
overruled by the rash temper of less experienced warriors, 
the Battle of the Standard would not probably have been 
included in the roll of English victories.^ 

The fourth Baron de Percy had acquired additional 
lands in different parts of England, and more especially 
in Sussex, where he was mesne lord of manors exceeding 
ten thousand acres, belonging to the lordship of Petti- 
ward, afterwards called Petworth, " with suit and service 
to Roger, Earl of Montgomery," and which, we are 
informed, formed part of the twenty-three knights* fees 
which he held from that earl/ 

« «* When King David of Scotland invaded the parts of England, 
Archbishop Thurston, whom Stephen had appointed lieutenant-governor 
of the north, called together the nobility and gentry of the counties, and 
those adjoining to the dty of York ; whose names I find thus recorded by 
Richard, Prior of Hexham : William de Albemarle, Walter de Gant, 
Robert de Brus, Robert de Mowbray, Walter Espec, Ilbert de Lacy, 
William de Percy, Richard de Curcjr, William Fossard, and Robe^ 
de Stouteville, all ancient barons of this country." — Drake's Eboracum. 

* Not his brother, as is commonly said. He was a natural son of 
Alan, the second Baron de Percy. 

3 Alan, we are told, had urged the king not to abandon the favourable 
ground he occupied, but to await the enem/s attack within his intrench- 
ments, and David was disposed to be guided by this prudent counsel, 
when a Scottbh noble, Malise, Earl of Stratheam, angrily demanded 
by what right ** that Frenchman " presumed to teach them their duty. 
AUm replied by a defiance and a challenge to single combat, and it 
required the king's personal intervention to adjust or defer the quarrel 
The term " Frenchman ** which the ruling race in England arrogantly 
assumed as expressive of their superiority, was, it would appear, used in 
a reproachful sense by the unsubdued Soots. 

4 See Dallaway's Western Division of the County of Sussex. 181 5. 
Vol. L pp. 205 and 207. 


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Google '' 


There is here, however, some confusion. The Roger a.d. 

de Montgomeri, who had been granted the Honour of 
Arundel by the Conqueror, died early in the reign of 
William the Second ; and his son Robert, the third 
and last Earl of Arundel of that name, died in 1102, 
when the Honour of Arundel reverted to King Henry 
the First, who settled it in dower upon his Queen 
Adeliza. Our William de Percy, who was born 1112, 
must therefore have held his lands in Sussex directly 
from the Crown. 

Like his ancestors, he was a liberal benefactor to 
religious houses ; he granted the church of Topcliffe 
towards the construction of York Minster ; founded the 
Abbey of Salley, or Sauley, in Craven,* and gave twenty 
marks a year, out of the rents of the manor and forests 
of Gisbume, Yorkshire, besides lands (redeemable by the 
monks of Salley, who held them, for ;^25 a year) to 
Sandon Hospital, in Surrey. 

The condition attached to this grant was that six 
chaplains should be maintained, and that a lamp, and a 
candle of two pounds in weight, should be kept burning 
before the altar of the Virgin in the hospital chapel 
during the celebration of mass.* 

William de Percy was twice married ; first to Alice de 
Tunbridge, daughter of Richard, third Earl of Clare,^ 

* Salley or Sawley Abbey became one of the chief burial places of 
the Percies, but no traces of their tombs now remain. The btulding 
had no pretension to magnificence; indeed, according to Whitaker 
(History of Craven) : " In this respect the ambition of the Percies 
did not lead them to rival their neighbours." Long after it had 
passed out of possession of the family the Manor of Salley reverted 
to one of their descendants. King James the First having granted 
it to his favourite, James Hay, afterwards Earl of Carlisle, at whose 
death in 1636 it passed to his son by his wife Lucy, daughter of the 
ninth Earl of Northumberland. 
' See Brayley*s History of Sumy, 
3 Grandson of Gilbert Strongbow, who died in 11 49. 



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A.D. and commonly called Lord of Tunbridge (after his castle 
1030--120S ^£ ^^^^ name in Kent), who bore him several sons and 
two daughters. 

Of these sons nothing remains on record beyond their 
signatures as witnesses to various grants to religious 
houses, unless Ralph de Percy may be counted among^ 

This Ralph, described as Lord of Smeaton,' is the 
hero of a popular legend, according to which he was 
subjected to a severe and prolonged penance for an act 
of sacrilege. 

It appears that while hunting in the forest of Whitby 
with two of his companions, he had wounded a wild 
boar, which sought refuge in St. Hildas Chapel, where 
the presiding priest mercifully afforded sanctuary to the 
suffering beast by closing the doors against the pursuing 
hounds. The three barons, enraged at this interference 
with their sport, slew the holy man, a crime for which 
they would have suffered death had he not, with his last 
breath, interceded on their behalf and granted them 
absolution for their sin, on condition that they would 
each, once a year upon a specified day, with their own 
hands, collect and carry on their backs, for delivery to the 
Abbot of Whitby, a bundle of stakes and wattles. This 
act of penance is said to have been regularly performed 
for a long period, not only by the culprits themselves, but 
by the successors in the tenure of their lands. 

Sir Walter Scott thus refers to the legend : — 

" Then Whitby's nuns exulting told 
How to their house three barons bold 
Must menial service do ; 

' No son of this name is mentioned by the old genealogists, but the 
records of this period are very imperfect, and Ralph may have been one 
of the numerous grandsons of the second baron, all of whom inherited 
lands in Yorkshire. 

» The Lordship of Smeaton was part of the Cravert Fee. 


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While homs blow out a note of shame» a.d. 

And monks cry ' Fye, upon your name ; 113 2-1 203 

In wrath for loss of sylvan game — 

Saint Hilda's priest ye slew.' 
This on Ascension Day each year 
While labouring on our harbour pier 
Must Herbert, Bruce, and Percy hear 1 " « 

« « 

By his second wife, Sybilla de ValUnes, William de -^ 
Percy had no children, and as none of his several sons 
survived him, he was, on his death in 11 68, succeeded in 
his great possessions by his two daughters, Maud and — 
Agnes, as co-heiresses. 

In the early part of this year he had " made return of 
knights enfeoffed of his honour, both of ancient feoffment 
of the time of Henry I. and of new feoffment since his 
death, in order that those who have not yet done liege 
homage, and whose names are not yet written in the Rolls 
of the King, might come in and do it before that Sunday " « 
(the first Sunday in Lent). 

Maud de Percy married William de Newburgh, third 
Earl of Warwick, who fell in the Crusades, leaving no — 
issue, in 1184,"* when his widow paid the Crown seven 

' Marmion. See note to Canto ii. 

» Plumpton Papers, William de Percy had in this year been assessed 
at thirty marks in aid of the marriage of the king's 'daughter (Mag. Rot 
14 Hen. II. and Rot Everwyk 6a 575), but the principle upon which 
scutage was levied was still so ill defined, and varied so much in 
different localities, that it affords no criterion of the acttial number, 
and still less of the value, of knights' fees. 

3 According to Banks {Extinct Baronage)^ this Earl of Warwick 
married, secondly y Margaret, the daughter of John d'Ayville, celebrated in 
the "Song of the Baxons" (written in 1263 and published by the 
Camden Society) as : — 

** Su-e Jon D'Ayvile 
Qui onques ni aimd tre3rson ne gile." 

But if this lady was ever his wife, she must have been the first, and 


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A.D. hundred marks for assignment of her dower and for 
1030-1205 jj^gj^^^ ^Q re-marry according to her inclination, although, 
if the date of her birth be correctly recorded, she must 
then have approached her fiftieth year. 

The monks of Salley having represented to her that 
the climate of Craven was so d^mp that their corn would 
not ripen,' she compensated them by the grant of the 
Church of Our Lady, at Tadcaster, and the Chapel of 
u I Oj Haselwood, with a cantciite of land in her birthplace, 
' I Catton, and a yearly pension in consideration of the per- 
formance of perpetual masses for the souls of her husband 
and various members of her family. 

The charter conferring these gifts is dated in 1 186, two 
years after her husband's death, and its wording indicates 
the guast royal state in which the Percy heiress then 
lived ; the grants being made, as she expresses it, " by 
the advice of the Lord Vavaseur, of other of our faithful 
lieges, and of our whole court." * 

Dying in 1203, ^^^ Countess Maud bequeathed her 
entire possessions, being the moiety of her father's estate, 
to her nephew, Richard de PercJJr, the youngest son of ^ 
her sister Agnes. Under the terms of the will, her share 
should, on her decease, have reverted to the surviving 
heiress; but by a private agreement between the two 
sisters, Richard was permitted to mherit his aunt's estate 
an arrangement which, as will be seen, subsequently 

not the second, for there is conclusive evidence that the Lady Maud 
Percy survived her husband for many years. 

* Whitaker suspects that the monks were here guilty of misrepresen- 
tation, since " in this extensive tract not a single spot can be pointed 
out equally warm and fertile as that which William de Percy parcelled 
out as the situation of a religious housed — History of Craven, 

* " Consilio Domini Willielmi Vavasoris, et aliorum virorum et fidelium 
meorum, et totius Curiae meae." — MonasL AngL voL v. p. 510. 


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led to further encroachments upon the rights of the a.d. 
lawful heir. 1134^205 

Some years after her marriage with William de Albini,* 
Adeliza, once known as the Fair Maid of Brabant, and 
second wife of Henry the First, sent into France for her 
half-brother, Jocelyn de Louvain,' " to share her prosperity 
and happiness," ^ and also, as would appear, to improve his 
fortune by an advantageous alliance. 

Agnes de Perci was the lady whom Adeliza selected 
for a sister-in-law, but her father was too proud of his 
race to allow all traces of it to be lost even by absorption 
in the princely house of Brabant, and he accordingly 
attached an important condition to the marriage of his 

We read in an ancient MS. that : — " This Jocelyn 
. . . wedded this dame Agnes Percy upon condition that 
he shold be called Jocelyn Percy, or els that he shold bare 
the armes of the Lord Percy, and he toke the counsell 
of his syster and he chose rather to be called Jocelyn 
Percy than to forsake his owne armes (which be feld "^ 
ore, a lion rampant, azure),* for so shold he have no 
right title to his father's inheritance, and so of right the 

' She had married that accomplished and chivalrous gentleman after 
a royal widowhood of five years, in 11 40, when he hecsime jure uxoris. 
Earl of Arundel. He was the son of William de Albini, one of the 
Conqueror's chief commanders, by the daughter of Robert de Bigod, 
Earl of Norfolk. 

^ The youngest son of Godfrey, Duke of Brabant, a lineal descendant 
of Charlemagne, by his^teeond wife, (Amentia of -Burgundy^ He was 
thus the half-brother of Queen AdelizaT^ though In" variotis^ documents 
he styles himselfi and is by others desmbed, as ^^fraUr Regina'^ 

3 See Miss Strickland's Querns of England. 

4 The arms borne by the Norman Percies had down to this time 
been ''azure five fusils infess or," and these are found engraven on Q^ 
the seals of the charter of Sallay Abbey and of other documents. 
The descendants of the younger branches of the family anterior to 
the line of Louvain continued to bear those arms; while the elder 
branch adopted those of their ancestor Jocelyn. 



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A.D. Lord Percy shold be Duke of Brabant, tho they be not 
1030-120S/ ^ indede."^ 

The date of the marriage is not on record, but may be 
approximately fixed by the charter under which Adeliza's 
munificent wedding gift, the Honour of Petworth, was 
conferred upon her brother. This document was con- 
firmed by Duke Henry of Normandy, while acting as 
regent in England in 11 50-51, and Queen Adeliza, 
herself a witness to the marriage, died towards the end 
of the latter year, when the heiress was barely sixteen 
years of age. 

In addition to Petworth, Jocelyn de Percy held, in his 
own right, lands representing five and a half knights* 
fees in Yorkshire.* All that we can learn of him is that 
he lived in great splendour and made large donations 
to the religious houses endowed by the Percies, as well 
as to the Abbeys of Lewes and Reading. He died 
before 11 89.3 

The Lady Agnes survived her husband for nearly a 
quarter of a century, dying at a very advanced age in 
1 205. She was buried upon her saint-day, a fact attested 

' Ex registro MonasUrii de Whitbye.—HdrL MSS, No. 692 (26), 
fol. 235. Peeris says : — 

**Therfore in c5-clusyon he chose to holde his owne ann5rs styll 
And to take the name of Percy at the saide Lady Agnes wiL" 

Longstaffe, in his Per^ BadgeSy doubts whether Jocelyn de Louvain 
himself ever took the name of Percy, but he gives no authority for this 

» These are quoted in the Red Book of the Exchequer as " Feod 
Jocelini de Lovaine." 

3 As may be inferred from the terms of a charter towards the end of 
the reign of Henry the Second, by which the Lady Agnes confers upon 
the monks of Sallay certain lands : *' Pro salute animse mese et charis- 
simi domini nostri Regis Henrici, et Reginae Alienorae, et Jocelini de 

Lovain, quondam sponsi met et omnium antecessorum et 

hseredum meorum." — Monast. Angl. 


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upon her tombstone in Whitby Abbey by this quaint a.d. 

inscription : — '^ _ ^ 

" Agnes, Agnetis festo tumulatur, et istis 
Idem sexus, idem nomen, et una dies." * 

With her ended the elder branch of the Norman 
Percies, and a new line commenced, which, for nearly 
five centuries, played an important and conspicuous part 
in the history of England. 

' Dugdale. Wynn's Pedigree Roll from HarL AfSS. Peeris renders 
the inscription : — 

" In the fest of Saint Agnes, Agnes Percy 
Lyeth here engravide, and they bothe aggre 
In kynde, name, and lyfe." 

adding : " this is a great commendation, and a token that this lady was 
of virtuous life and conversation." 

VOL. I. 33 D 

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Wf)t Barons; ^ttq^ of Cotibatm 

Sixfh Baron. 
Henry de Percy, bora arc, 1160, died 1196. 

Seventh Baron, 
Richard (brother), bora circ, 11 70, died 1244. 

Eighth Baron. 
William (nephew), bom circ. 11 93, died 1245. 

Ninth Baron. 
Henry, bom circ. 1230, died 1272, 

English Scvtreigns. 

Henry n. ace, 11 54 
Richard I. „ 11 89 

Henry II. 
Richard I. 

John „ 1199 

Henry III. „ 12 16 

Henry III. 

Henry III. 

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nt ^miti of Houbatn. 

''N .the death of Jocelyn de Louvain, his 
widow, as representative of the fifth 
Baron de Percy, continued in possession 
of the northern estates, but the Lordship 
of Petworth ' devolved upon their eldest 
son, Henry,* who had married Isabel, 
daughter of Adam de Brus, Lord of Skelton.^ This 
lady brought him the Manor of Lekinfield, near Beverley, 



" His claim to this Barony was contested by Brian Fitz Ralph, Lord 
of Middlehara, Yorkshire, who had paid 100 marks for licence to pro- 
secute his suit, promising 200 more if he succeeded in it — See Mag. 
J^o/., Richard I., K 16, Sussexa. The Fitz Ralphs seem to have held 
some of these lands in the reign of the first Henry, for in the charter of 
the Monastery of Lewes {Monast, AngL vol. v. p. 3) we find it stated that 
the Church of Bukeden, Sussex, the grant of which to that institution was 
therein confirmed by Jocelyn de Louvain, had orignally been ** a gift of 
William Fitz Ralph." 

' The first of this baptismal name which through fourteen subsequent 
generations was borne by the head of the family. He was so called 
after his aunt's husband, King Henry the First. Ralf, the youngest son 
of the Lady Agnes Percy, returned to France, settled in the south, there 
married a lady of rank. Mademoiselle de Jennes, and became the 
founder of a femily of Percy, of which the last representative — an officer 
of the order of St. Louis — was an hmigr'e in England during the revolu- 
tion, and was hospitably received as a kinsman by the second Duke of 

3 Whose great-grandfather appears in Domesday Book as the holder of 

VOL. I. 


D 2 

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A.i>. Yorkshire, which long continued one of the principal 
1160-1272 seats of the Percies. 

A curious condition was attached to this manorial 
tenure- Henry de Percy and his heirs were required to 
repair to Skelton Castle every Christmas morning, to 
lead the lady of the house from her chamber to mass in 
the chapel and back, and to depart after dining with her. 
This formality i» said to have been regularly complied 
with until the prohibition to celebrate mass, at the 
Reformation, caused it to fall into abeyance. 

Henry de Percy quit-claimed to Fountains Abbey, "all 
Litton and Littondale, excepting the venison there, for 
the custody whereof the monks were to present unto 
him two foresters, and to pay them at their own proper 
costs." ' Such reservations of the rights of the chase on 
the part of church patrons are frequently met with in the 
charters of religious houses, and occasionally gave rise 
to litigation, the monks being by no means disposed to 
forego their " command of the deer." * 

Dying a few weeks before his mother, Henry de 
Percy was succeeded by his only surviving son, William, 
who became the legal heir to the entire property of the 
house ; but he being then only in his fifteenth year, his uncle 
Richard assumed the administration of his lands, and 
with this the baronial rights appertaining to the head 
of the family, — a position so congenial to his tastes that 
he could not be induced to relinquish it when his ward 
attained his majority. 

By right of this usurped power ' Richard de Percy had 

ninety-four lordships in Yorkshire, of which Skelton Castle was the 
capital. Its lords enjoyed the privilege of holding a weekly fair on 
Sundays, under the castle walls. See Brayley's Yorkshire. 

' Dugdale's Baronage^ p. 271. 

« See posiea^ page 50. 

3 The officially appointed guardian of the minor was William de 
Briwere {Cal. Rot. Chart, i King John); who seems, however, to have 

. 36 

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on his mother's death livery of all the lands in Yorkshire a.d. 
of which she had died seised, as well as of those which had ^'70^^244 
been illegally bequeathed to him by his aunt the Countess 
of Warwick ; of the greater part of these he succeeded in 
retaining possession during the whole of his life. 

He was a man of much ambition, daring, and strength 
•of will ' ; a fair type of those iron barons who acknow- 
ledged no law but that of the sword, and who, in their 
efforts to guard and extend their own powers and 
privileges against the encroachment of royal authority, 
laid the foundation of that constitution which secured 
the popular liberties of England. 

• « 

" Am I not a good craftsman that have made a new 
earl out of an old bishop ? " laughingly asked King 
Richard, when, according to old Norman fashion, he had 
girded the sword on Hugh de Pudsey, Bishop of Durham, 
in creating him Earl of Northumberland. The dignity 
was conferred for life in consideration of a money pay- 
ment,* but when, a few years later, the king's necessities 
for the means of prosecuting the War of the Crusades 
became more urgent, he revoked the grant, and entered 
into negotiations with the King of Scotland for the 
sale of the county of Northumberland.^ These were 
however broken off in consequence of the vehement 

wanted either the will or the power to resist Richard de Percy's high- 
handed proceedings. 

* In an old MS. genealogy of the Percies preserved in St. Mary's 
Church, York, we read : " Quidem Ricardus, quia vir animosus erat, 
intravit in purpartiam matris suae . . . sine aliquo jure hereditario, et 
petebat totam hseriditatem sororis matris suae praedictae, et sic tenuit ad 
vitam suam." — Monast. Angl. vol. v. p. 5x6. 

■ Mat Paris^ p. 207. The bishop had paid 1,000 marks for the 
earldom and the revenues of the county, together with the office of lord 

3 Fifteen thousand marks was the price offered by the Scottish king 
for the whole county of Northumberland, including the stronghold of 


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.A.i>. opposition on the part of the northern barons to the sur- 
render of the border province to their hereditary enemy. 
Richard de Percy took a prominent part in resisting the 
proposed concession, without, however, incurring the royal 
displeasure; for the king continued to call him to his 
counsels, and among other marks of his favour conferred 
upon him the grant of a wealthy Jew, whom he subse- 
quently " made over" to Queen Alianore/ 

Notwithstanding many faults, and the oppressive 
taxation which his warlike policy compelled him to im- 
pose, the King of the Lion Heart had by his generous 
nature, and the martial genius by means of which he 
greatly raised the prestige of England, won the 
attachment of his people. His brother John had no such 
merits to redeem his false and feeble nature. His 
exactions were even more burdensome than those of 
Richard; but the military enterprises for which they 
formed the pretext either collapsed in their inception or 
terminated in disorder and disgrace. There was not 
one feature in his private character to compensate for his 
deficiencies as a ruler. He was untruthful, treacherous, 
pusillanimous and vindictive. Popular rumour attri- 
buted to his hand the murder of his young nephew, 
Prince Arthur, and his habitual cruelty fully justified the 
suspicion. His licentiousness ■ was equal to his vindic- 

» See Madox's Antiquities of the Excheqiur^ vol l pp. 223, 230, 241. 
They had previously been a despised and persecuted race, but the 
systematic extortion practised upon the Jews in England originated in 
Richard's reign, and was improved upon by King John. Jewish traders 
could only ply their craft by piurchasing the protection of the Crown, and 
even thus the greater part of their earnings found their way into the 
royal coffers in the shape of fines, ransoms, tallages, and compositions 
for obtaining justice. Private individuals were permitted to " farm " 
wealthy Jews for their own profit, such royal licenses being considered 
equivalent to a grant of land or money. 

" Numerous instances are on record of his dishonouring attempts 
upon the wives and daughters of his nobles, who were not of a temper to 
allow their king such liberties. 


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tiveness, and it may truly be said of him, as it was in a.d. 
later days of Caesar Borgia, that he had never been ^^'^^^^^ 
known to spare man iij his hate, or woman in his lust. 

Monarchy was so essential a feature of the principle of 
feudalism — being indeed at once the foundation and the 
apex of the entire structure — that it must have required 
a rare combination of repellent qualities on the part of 
the sovereign so completely to alienate the support of 
his most powerful subjects, that even the provocation of 
a foreign enemy would not induce them to draw the sword 
at his command. Thus the warlike barons of England 
looked on in sullen inactivity while their continental 
possessions were overrun, and the fair provinces of 
Normandy re-annexed to the French Crown. 

Rarely however has the loss of territory been so 
fraught with beneficial effects upon the destinies of a 
nation. Hitherto the ruling race in England had owned 
a divided allegiance : English lords continuing to be 
Norman seigneurs, Norman nobles owning large tracts 
of English lands only for the sake of the revenue to be 
derived from them, and which they expended in their 
own country. They had now to elect whether they 
would become Englishmen or Frenchmen ; there was no 
middle course : and the lords of the soil henceforth became, 
in fact as well as in name, the Barons of England.' 

A long series of domestic alliances had already served 
to allay the resentment and jealousy of the native popu- 
lation towards their conquerors ; and the renunciation of 
. alien sympathies and interests, with the acknowledgment 
of a common nationality, now cemented the union between 

» Lord Macaulay dates the history of England proper from the reign of 
King John : " In the time of Richard the First the ordinary imprecation of 
a Norman gentleman was * May I become an Englishman I ' his ordinary . 

form of indignant denial was ' Do you take me for an Englishman ? ' I 

The descendants of such a gentleman a hundred years later were proud 
of the English name." — History of England^ vol. i. p. i6. 


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A-D. Norman and Saxon, and did much to obliterate the 
0-1272 j^j^j-gj^gj. jij^gg Qf demarcation which had hitherto existed 
between the dominant and the subject race. 

Enraged at the attitude of his rebellious subjects, 
King John carried an army into the north of England, 
desolating entire districts with fire and sword ; but the 
barons and their dependants either joined the Scottish 
forces on the border, or defied him from the security of 
their strongholds ; and he could but wreak his vengeance 
upon the bare walls of abandoned castles, or the unarmed 
populations of towns and villages. 

His remorseless cruelty during this expedition ' only 
served to embitter the general hatred which his vices had 
inspired ; and when, despairing of other support, he made 
a humiliating peace with Rome, avowing himself and his 
heirs the vassals of the pope, all classes joined in an 
indignant protest and a stern demand for the redress of 
their grievances. 

The curtain next rises upon the grand scene at Runni- 
mede, and among the barons who there confronted the 
pale king none spoke in a more uncompromising tone 
than Richard de Percy,' who had a personal as well as a 
national wrong to resent 

* * It was while so engaged that, having been bogged in crossing 

\ Alnwick Moor (then called the Forest of Aldon), the king issued a 

( mandate which was incorporated in their charter, requiring the freemen 

of Alnwick to walk across the moor in a body once a year, a ceremony 
which they continued to perform with waving flags and bands of music, 
down to a comparatively recent period. 

• Matthew Paris {Zid. iiL p. 254) speaks of him as one of the barons 
" qui principes fuerunt in exactione libertatum." Another ancient 
historian thus enumerates the chief authors of the great charter : 

Robert Fitzwalter. Robert de Ros." 

Gilbert, Earl of Clare. Peter de Bruis. 

Saher, Earl of Winchester. Nicholas Stuteville. 

- Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. William de Mowbray. 
Geffrey Fitzpiers, Earl of Essex. Oliver de Vaux. 
Eustace de Vescy. 

- Richard de Percy. — CarU, vol. I p. 829. 



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His wife's brother, William de Braose, having refused a.d. 
to surrender his children as hostages for his own good "7^244 
conduct to the Crown, had been banished the country, 
and in his absence the king had seized upon his wife 
and eldest son and caused them to be starved to death 
in a dungeon at Windsor/ 

The sturdy Percy had espoused his kinsman's cause, 
and loudly denounced King John's atrocious cruelty ; and 
when now, having been elected one of the twenty-five 
guardians of the charter,* he, with his hand upon the hilt 
of his sword, swore to enforce the concessions extorted 
from the reluctant sovereign, all felt confident that their 
rights and liberties were safe in such keeping, even in 
spite of the papal excommunication by which he was 
individually proclaimed.^ 

Less creditable to Richard de Percy was his participa- 
tion in offering the Crown of England to a foreign prince, 
and in surrendering to Alexander of Scotland the county 
and fortresses of Northumberland as the price of his 
armed support of Louis of France. Even among those 
who most resented King John's repudiation of his solemn 
promises, there showed itself a strong reluctance to bear 
arms against him by the side of a French army, and to 
the very last attempts were 'made on the part of the 

' Paris, Historia Maior^ p. 230. Holinshead says that, as the ** mess- 
engers . . . came unto the Lord William de Breuse requiring to have his 
sonnes for the said purpose, his wyfe (like a quick and hastie dame) taking 
the words out of her husband's mouth, made this round answer, • diat she 
would not deliver her sonnes unto King John, who alreadie had slaine 
his own nephue Arthur, whom he ought rather honorablie to have loved 
and preserved.*" — Chronicles qf England^ vol. ii. p. 298. TheBraosesor 
Broases were a wealthy and influential baronial family who had held 
lands in Devonshire and Sussex from the Conquest This William de 
Braose had become a powerful chieftain in Ireland, and one of the king's 
most formidable opponents. He died in Paris shortly after the murder 
of his wife and child. 

« The conservators or guardians of the charter comprised seven earls, 
fifteen barons, the Lord Mayor of London and the Constable of Chester. 

3 Faderaj\o\. L p. 211. 


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A.D. insurgent barons to induce the king to agree to such 
XT 0-1272 |.gj.j^g ^g might obviate the necessity of resorting to 
foreign aid. 

Thus in 12 16 we find Richard de Percy and others 
making overtures for peace and compromise, an official 
record of which has been preserved. 

** The King to Robert de Ros, William de Moebray, 
Eustace de Vesey, Peter de Brus, J. Fitz Robert, Richard 
de Percy, Richard de Umframvill, Roger de Merlay, Roger 

Bertram, Ranulph Fitz Robert, Bartholomew Fitz 

your messengers, the bearers of these presents, came to 
us at Dover next after the feast of the Invention of 
Holy Cross, having been sent {transmisst) to us on your 

behalf; but they proposed certain things to 

us you desire to be reconciled to us. 

We send back to you your same messengers, and with 
them Robert de Kemeford, our knight [to declare 

to you] our will and mind 

Witness the King himself at Folkestone, the 7th day 
of May." ' 

It appears to have been on the failure of this negotia- 
tion that the northern barons used their combined 
influence to bring Yorkshire to acknowledge the preten- 
sions of the French prince,^ but the opportune death of 
John terminated the unhappy conflict. The nation was 
not disposed to visit the father's sins upon the son,^ One 
by one the barons abandoned the French alliance, and, 

» Patent Rolls i 17 John p. 180 (the blanks are due to the decay of 

* " Robert de Ros, Peter de Bruis and Richard Perde, subdued York 
and all Yorkshire, bringing the same under the obeisance of Louis." — 
Holinshead, voL ii. p. 333. 

3 In his appeal to the disaffected barons the Earl of Pembroke said : 
" Although we have persecuted the father of this young prince for his 
evill demeanour, and worthilie, yet this young childe, whom heare you 
see before you, as he is in years tender, so he is pure and innocent from 
his father's doings."— /^/li/. p. 341. 


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after a final attempt to assert his authority by force of a.d. 
arms, Louis made his way back to his own country. 1 170-1244 

Richard de Percy was among the first to return to his 
allegiance when his forfeited lands were restored to him/ 
and in the following year he obtained letters of safe- 
conduct from the Earl of Pembroke,* governor of the 
kingdom, and did homage to the young king. 

In 12 19 he was employed in an expedition against the 
Welsh rebels, and some time later was one of the negotia- 
tors of the treaty under which Llewellin, Prince of Wales, 
agreed to give such satisfaction as the Archbishop of 
Canterbury should direct 

Their restored loyalty did not, however, absolve the 
English barons from their obligations to cause the terms 
of the charter to be observed, and we must come to 
modern times to find a parallel to the vigilance and 
jealousy with which Parliament watched the public 
expenditure, and protected the national interests, against 
the encroachments of the Crown. 

Throughout the long reign of Henry the Third every 
subsidy demanded became the subject of earnest delibe- 
ration and discussion ; and when the king, reproved for 
the extravagance of his demands,^ pleaded the cost of his 
foreign wars, he was bluntly reminded that as these had 
been undertaken without the assent of Parliament, the 
nation could not be expected to defray their expense. 

On the assembling of Parliament in 1237, Henry asked 
for ** a thirtieth on all movables," and the demand having 

* Rot Lit Ciaus, i Henry III. 12 May, 12 17. Ibid. 2 Henry III. 
19 July, 12 18. Feed, vol. i. p. 223. 

* William Marshall, who was raised to the earldom on his marriage with 
the only daughter of Richard, the second Earl of Pembroke. 

3 Their patriotic regard for the public interests would have been none 
the less praiseworthy had it expressed itself in more courteous terms. 
When Henry in 1248 applied to Parliament for a large subsidy, the reply 
of the House was " they admired that the king did not blush at making 
such demands." — M. Paris, Hisioria Maiory p. 744, 


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A.D. been duly recorded, the barons prepared, according to 
II 0-1273 ^.ysjQj^^ it ^Q withdraw to a private place ' for consultation, 
when : 

** Gilbert de Bassett, one of the King s personal friends, 
not so careful of his words as he might have been, said 
aloud to the King, 

" * My lord the King, send some of your friends to go 
along with the barons to their consultation/ 

" Whereon Richard de Percy, not without reason 
angered at this speech {non sine causa siomachatjis), arose 
and answered him : 

" ' What is it, friend Gilbert, that you say ? Do you 
take us for foreigners and not the King's friends ?' and 
Gilbert stood reproved for his rude and rash words." ^ X 

It was not until the year 1234 that the long-pending 
litigation between Richard de Percy and his nephew 
terminated. The king then summoned them to appear 
in curia Regis ubicunq fuerit^ and presided in person to 
finally adjudicate upon the case, as a peacemaker, it would 
appear, rather than as a judge.^ 

The decision was that Richard should during his life 
retain possession of the moiety which his aunt had 
illegally bequeathed to him, but that on his decease the 

' The three estates of the realm at this time met in one house, and 
whenever it became necessary to consult and deliberate, the earls, the 
spiritual lords, the barons and the commons, would retire in separate 

• M. Paris, Hist Maior^ p. 435. 

3 '' Dominus enim Rex vult quod loquela ilia terminetur, et pax inde 
fiat in presentia sua.** — Madox, Antiquiiies of the Exchequer y p. 796. 
The weakness of the law to reach the powerAil is illustrated by these 
proceedings, which afford at the same time so characteristic a picture of 
the legal procedure of that period that the record is quoted in full 
(Appendix II.). "Norman government," says Hallam, ''better re- 
sembled a scramble of wild beasts where the strongest takes the best 
share, than a system founded upon principles of common utility." — 
Middle Ages, vol iii. p. 219. 


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entire Yorkshire property left by his grandfather, the a.d. 
fourth baron, should revert to his nephew William, to the ^^70^^245 
exclusion of Richard's son/ 

Some years after the death of his first wife, the 
sister of William de Broase, Richard de Percy married 
Agnes de Nevill, who was still living as the wife of 
John D'Eyncourt towards the end of the thirteenth 
century. d^W 

Although William, the seventh Lord de Percy, so far 
joined the barons in their resistance against the tyranny 
of King John as to subscribe the declaration to support 
the conservators of the charter vi et annis, he appears 
to have taken little part in public affairs either civil or 
military. Indeed there is nothing recorded of him 
beyond that he had paid certain fines for exemption 
from military service abroad," and made the accustomed 
grants to religious houses. It was probably due to his 
lethargic nature that his ambitious and energetic guardian 
had been enabled to appropriate the greater part of his 
estates, and succeeded in deposing him from his lawful 
position as head of the family.^ When on his uncle's 
death in 1 244 he had livery of his lands,^ he was declared 
liable for service of thirty knights' fees of the ancient 

' This son, Henry, was, however, provided with considerable lands in 
Yorkshire, where his descendants continued for several generations. In 
1249, we find the record of a royal license in his favour, to hold a fair 
and market at Settell or Settle. — Close Roll^ 33 Henry III. ni. 11. 

' In 1242 he paid one hundred marks for exemption from joining the 
king in an expedition to Gascony, {Clans. 28 Hen. III. m.20). Among 
his benefactions to the Church we find a grant of the manor of Gisbume 
(with reservation of forest rights) and an annuity of twenty marks for 
masses for his wife *' Ellen '' to the monks of Salley, as also of his lands 
in Foston, for the maintenance of six additional priests at Sandon 
Hospital in Surrey. — Monast AngL vol. vi. p. 676. 

3 As late as in 1224, when he was in his thirty-second year, William 
de Percy had been rated for only fifteen knights' fees in Yorkshire, 
his uncle Richard holding the remaining fifteen fees forming tl^e 

4 Rot. Fin, 28 Hen. III. m. 2. 


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A.D. feoffment in Yorkshire, and two in Lincolnshire,* besides 

1160-1272 j^jg Sussex holdings. He did not however live long to 

enjoy his restored possessions. Within one year of 

Richard de Percy's death he had followed him to the 


He had in 1233 procured the guardianship of the five 
daughters of William de Briwere,* one of whom he 
married. She is said to have died without male issue, 
when William de Percy took for a second wife Elena, 
daughter of Ingelram de Baliol,^ who brought him seven 
sons and one daughter. 

This daughter Elena was living in 1282 as Abbess 
of Werewell/ in Hertfordshire. Of the six younger 
sons, one, Ingelram, inherited his mother's Lordship of 

* Rot Pip, 30 Hen. III., Madox, Bar. AngL p. 93. 

* Rot. Fin. 17 Hen. IH. m. 3. William de Briwere had been Sheriflf 
of Devon, in which county he owned extensive lands, under King John, 
to whom he adhered throughout his reign, and whose cause he so 
warmly espoused that in 1222 he urged Henry HI. to disregard the 
terms of the charter, since they had been extorted from his father by 
violence. One of his daughters married Reginald de Broase, brother of 
the victim of John's cruelty, and their son by this marriage, having been 
suspected of familiarity with the wife of Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, 
was invited to a feast by the jealous husband, who then hanged him in 
the banqueting hall, in presence of the lady and the assembled guests. 

3 Dugdale makes no mention of William de Perc/s second marriage, 
and cites Joan de Briwere as the mother of the ninth baron and his six 
brothers. Yet he refers to his bequest to the monks of Salley for prayers 
for the soul of his wife " Elena." Collins does mention it, but states that 
"William de Percy in 17 Henry III. (1233) ...... gave 500 marks to 

the king for the wardship of the five daughters of William de Briwere 
.... and afterwards married one of them." There is some confusion 

here, for Henry, the ninth baron, who is described as the issue of the second 
marriage, had livery of his lands on attaining his majority in 1249, and 
must therefore have been bom in 1228, or at least five years before the 
date thus assigned to the first marriage. Either, then, Henry de Percy 
was bom of the first marriage, or Joan de Briwere was William's second 
wife; the latter indeed, is not improbable, since Joan's youngest 
daughter, Agnes, married Eustace de Baliol after 1254, when, had she 
been the issue of the first marriage, she must have been at least thirty-one 
years of age. In those days women of rank who did not marry early in 
life almost invariably retired into religious houses. 

* "Elena de Percy received the benediction on Lent Sunday, 1282." 
— Abbesses of Werewell Nunnery^ Herts., Monast Angl. vol. it p. 634. 


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Dalton,' thenceforth called Dalton Percy in Durham, and a.d. 
married the daughter and co-heiress of William Earl of "70^224 
Albemarle (she afterwards became the wife of Edmund 
Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster) ; but this branch of the 
family soon became extinct. 

Walter was the founder of the Percies of Kildale,' 
from whom descended the Percies of Ormsby and of 
Sneton. Jeffrey, styled Lord of Semar, served with 
King Henry IIL in the French wars, and William was 
Canon of St. Peter's, York. 

The eldest son, Henry, the ninth baron from the Con- 
quest, had livery of his lands, with license to marry as 
he pleased, in 1249, upon payment of ;^900, then an 
exceptionally large fine ^ for those under the degree of 
an earl. He played a conspicuous part in the events of 
the third Henry's reign and served under his immediate 
command in several campaigns in Wales and Scotland. 

The king had inherited the weakness and incapacity, 
although he was free from the more glaring vices, of his 
father ; and the favour shown by him to his numerous 
French followers, upon whom he lavished the moneys 

' He died " transmarinis " in 1262, leaving one son, William, then 
aged twenty-six. — Inquis, post mort, 46 Hen. HI. 

■ On this family becoming extinct, the Lordship reverted to the elder 
branch, in whose possession it remained (barring attainders) until 1660, 
when the loth Earl of Northumberland sold the lands of Kildale to 
John Turner of Kirklcatham, Serjeant-at-Law. 

3 Rot Fin. 33 Hen. III., m. 2. — So large that he was specially 
permitted to pay it by annual instalments. It is difficult to arrive at 
a just estimate of the comparative value of money at this period, for the 
price of wheat, which was generally taken as a criterion, underwent 
extraordinary fluctuations during the reign of Henry the Third. We 
may, however, form some idea of what the pound sterling then repre- 
sented by the purchase price and rentals of lands and buildings. Matthew 
Paris states that William de Trumpington, abbot of St. Albans, bought a 
house in London ** as extensive as a great palace, with chapel, stabl^, 
and gardens, for one hundred marks (66/. 13J'. 4//.), and Gregorie de 
Rokeby, Lord Mayor of London, a.d. i 275-1 282, rented the priory of 
Lewes, Sussex, as tenant at will for xx. shillings in the year, without being 
boimden to reparation or other charges." 


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A.D. wrung from the overburdened people, and whom he 
1 160-1272 encouraged in their arrogant assumption of superiority 
over the English, once more caused the barons to com- 
bine in organised opposition against the throne, 

Henry de Percy took part with the insurgent nobles, 
and in 1263 we find his name in the lists of the barons 
whose lands were confiscated for rebellion.' Before long, 
however, the supercilious bearing and despotic temper 
of Simon de Montfort," whose pre-eminent military 
capacity had allowed of his being acknowledged as the 
leader of the confederacy against foreign ascendency, in 
spite of his French birth, became intolerable to the 
English barons ; many of whom abandoned his cause and 
transferred their swords to the king on his engaging to 
make certain concessions, and to give a public guarantee 
for his observance of the terms of the Great Charter.^ 

Henry de Percy was among those who thus joined 
King Henry ; he was with the royal army in the assault 
and capture of Nottingham, and was shortly after taken 
prisoner at the disastrous battle of Lewes/ 

In the following year he was one of the Royal Com- 
missioners for negotiating the treaty that resulted in the 
compromise under which the questions at issue between 
King Henry and the disaffected barons were referred to 
the King of France, whose decisions both parties agreed 
to accept as binding. * This is probably the first instance 

* The list includes ** Robert de Brus, John Comyn, John de Baliol, 
Henry Percy, et aliis magnatibus." — Fadera, vol. i p. 772. 

« Son of the great soldier who had opposed King John ; he had been 
created Earl of Leicester, and had married a sister of King Henry HI., 
widow of the old Earl of Pembroke. 

3 Walsingham, Ypodigma NeustruBy p. 153. 

♦ " Capti sunt prseterea (after mention of the king and princes) Hum- 

fridus de Boun, (Bohun) comes Herefordise Willielmus Bardolfe, 

Robertus de Tateshalle, Rogerus de Somerset, Henricus de Percie, et 
Philipus Basset." — M. Paris, Hist. Maior^ p. 996. 

5 ** Promittentis . . . .quod quidquid Dominus Rex Francise super- 


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on record of two factions agreeing, on the eve of armed a.d. 1272 
conflict, to submit •a great national dispute to the 
arbitration of a foreign power/ 

Henry de Percy had married Alianore the elder of the 
two daughters* of John Plantagenet, Earl of Warren 
and Surrey, by his wife Alice,3 half sister to King 
Henry HI. This was the turbulent earl who, on an 
adverse judgment being pronounced against him in a 
civil action at law in 1262, attacked and severely 
wounded (Holinshead says " nearly killed ") Alan de la 
Zouche, Lord Justiciary of England, in his seat at 
Westminster Hall. The dignity of our courts of 
justice was, however, already upheld, and the earl ex- 
piated the outrage by the most humble public submission, 
and the payment of a fine of 10,000 marks. The lesson 
does not appear to have made much impression upon 
him however, for when, in the following reign, the 
Barons of England were required to produce the titles 
to their landed possessions, with a view to the establish- 
ment of a system of registration, the earl appeared in 
the royal presence and exhibiting an ancient sword said : 
'* By this trusty old servant did my ancestors win their 
lands, and by the same will I maintain them." He died 
at a very advanced age in 1304. 

The ninth Baron de Percy died in his forty-fifth year, 
leaving an infant son. 

omnibus prsedictis vel eorum aliquibus, de alto et basso, ordinaverit vel 
statuerit, nos observabimus bona fide." — Foidera^ vol. i. p. 776. 

' Papal mediation excepted, which rested, however, on quite different 

'The second daughter married John Baliol, King of Scotland. 

3 The daughter of Isabel of Angouldine, who became the queen of 
King John of England, and after his death married Hugh le Bran, 
Count of Lusignan. 

VOL. I. 49 

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Cfie S.orti£( $nrcs! ot ^Intotcit. 

Henry, First Lord Percy of Alnwick^ bom 
1272, died 13 14. 

Henry, Second Lord Percy of Alnwick^ born 
1299, ^ic^ February 27, 1352. 

Henry, Third Lord Percy of Alnwick^ bom 
1320, died 1368. 

English Sovereigns, 

Edward I. <wf. 1272 
Edward II( „ 1307 

Edward H. 
Edward HI.,, 1327 



HE love of the chase was, next to that 
of war, the predominant passion of the 
Norman Lords of England and their 
descendants. William of Malmesbury 
saySj in animadverting upon the cruel 
stringency of the game laws under the 
early Norman rule, that the Conqueror loved the tall 
deer as if he were their father ; and the taste survived 
in all its intensity among the higher, to the detriment of 
the less privileged classes, throughout the middle ages. 

The ninth Baron Percy had long and obstinately 
disputed the claim of the religious orders to the rights 
of the chase on lands which his ancestors had ceded 
to the Church ; but on his death, and during the long 


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minority of his heir,' they appear to have re-asserted a.d. 

and extended their claim ; and it was one of the first ^^7^3i4 

acts of Henry de Percy on attaining his majority to 

come to a formal understanding on this point with the 

monks of Fountains Abbey. The result was that he 

confirmed all the grants of his ancestors in this place, 

on the Abbot and Convent agreeing to " release to him 

in return all kinds of wild beasts and birds of prey/' 

of which his own foresters should have the care. They 

also "quit-claimed to him all those meadows and 

pastures in Bukeden and elsewhere within the bounds 

of Longstrother, with the wild beasts of that chase," 

and agreed to pay six hundred marks in compensation 

for their past infractions of the forest laws.' 

In the same year Henry de Percy received license to 
fortify his castles of Spofforth, Lekinfield and Petworth,^ 
and was confirmed in possession of the lands left by his 
grandfather Ingelram de Baliol to be held of the King 
in capite,^ Ingelram d*Umfreville, the heir-at-law, having 
forfeited the inheritance by rebellion. 

The young baron had received his military training 
under his grandfather, the Earl of Warren, governor of 
the north ; and, as soon as he had attained his majority, 
was intrusted with an important command against 
the Scots, who, taking advantage of the outbreak of 
war between England and France, had repudiated the 
terms upon which John Baliol had consented to receive 

' The elder son, John, had died in early infancy, when Henry was 
placed under the guardianship of Queen Eleanor (of Castile), the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury and John of Doncaster being at the same time 
appointed custodians of Petworth and the northern possessions. of the 
Percies. — Inquis. post tnort, and Abbrev, Rot Orig, lo Edward I. 

» MSS. Skipton Castle. The baronial forest rights were in their 
turn greatly restricted by the royal prerogative; and the grant of 
" freewarren," which gave an absolute right over all game, became a 
much coveted mark of the Royal favour. 

3 Pat, 2 Edward II., p. 2, m. 19. 

* Abbreviatio Rotulorum Origincdium^ i o Edward I. 

51 E 2 

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A.D. the Crown from King Edward,' and had invaded the 
J 2752^308 English territory, committing great outrages. 

Scarcely however had Henry de Percy led an army 
across the Border than he received a command to 
embark at Portsmouth on an expedition, under the king's 
nephew, John de Bretagne, Earl of Richmond, against 
the French, who had overrun our possessions in Gascony. 

From this time forth to the end of his life he was 
continuously engaged in war. He took a prominent part 
in the campaigns in Scotland, Wales, and France, and 
became distinguished among his contemporaries for 
military skill and daring, for the exercise of a strict, 
though judicious discipline, and for what was then a 
more rare virtue, justice and humanity in his intercourse 
with the unarmed population of invaded territory. 

The Border warfare which now raged, and which 
with only occasional intervals of truce lasted for nearly 
the next three centuries, was most disastrous to the 
northern Provinces of England. Northumberland was 
reduced to a desert,* and the ancient Chronicles are full 
of laments over the desolation and misery of the land, 
and the ruin of its lords and people. 

In a curious old poem, the composition of a Prior of 
Alnwick Abbey, we read — 

^Lugeat Northumbria nimis desolata ! 
Facta est ud vidua liliis orbata, 
Vescy, Morley, Somerville, Bertram sunt in fata, 
O quibus, at quantis, et qualibet est viduata ! " 3 

' It will be remembered that King Edward had been chosen as 
arbitrator between the two rival claimants for the Scottish throne, Bruce 
and Baliol, and that on the latter being elected he had sworn fealty to 
the crown of England. 

• Froissart, towards the end of the fourteenth century, described 
Northumberland as '' a savage and wylde countrey full of desarts and 
mountaignes, and a ryghte pore countrey of everything, saving of beestis, 
thorough the whiche there runneth a ryver full of flynt and great stones, 
called the water of Tyne." 

3 A/SS. British Museum. The poem is included in Thomas Wright's 
Political Songs of England^ published by the Camden Society, 


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A bitter retaliation followed upon each successful a.d. 1296 
raid. Wholesale plunder, wanton destruction, indiscrimi- 
nate burning and slaying, became the object of each 
army ; and in the absence of resistance, fire and sword 
were turned against peaceful villages and defenceless 
women and children. The principal and by far the most 
numerous records of these Border wars which have come 
down to us are to be found in the works of English 
writers, and the accounts of atrocities attributed to the 
Scots must be received with some caution. They had, 
at any rate, the excuse of being engaged in a struggle 
for national existence, whereas England was, throughout 
the greater part of this conflict waging an aggressive 
and unjust war with a view to conquest There was 
probably no greater leaning to humanity or mercy on 
one side than on the other. 

Thus we read that when in 1296 King Edward had 
carried Berwick by assault — 

"The nobills all that war within the town, 
And alss thereout, were haillelie slane down. 
Five thousand men that mekle were of maine, 
Within the town that samyn day war slane. 
Women aud bamis also young and old, 
War slane that day out of number untold." « 

It was while lying before this fortress that the English 
king conferred knighthood upon Henry de Percy and 
his other chief commanders. The ceremony led to a 
serious disaster, for the English fleet off the coast, 

» Metrical Chronicle of Scotland, Hector Boece says that the streams 
of Scottish blood shed on this occasion would have *' driven a mill for 
two days," a statement quoted by Grafton, but qualified by the warning 
that it was the tale of a Scot, and by a marginal note in which Boece 
is described as " a great Iyer." 

The two concluding lines are almost identical with those which occur 
in Benoit's description of the French soldiery in his Metrical History cf 
the Dukes of Normandy : 

" Ni espairgnent a rienz vivanz 
Ni vielles genz — ne as enfantz." 


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A.D. observing an unusual display of banners, concluded that 
"75-1360 ^^ assault was about to take place, and wishing to co- 
operate in it, entered the harbour of Berwick, where 
they were attacked by the Scots and lost four out of 
twenty ships before they could extricate themselves.' 

For his share in the victory of Dunbar," Sir Henry de 
Percy was appointed Governor of Galloway and Ayr, and 
custodian of the principal Border castles ; ^ and a humiliat- 
ing peace having been imposed upon the vanquished, the 
king passed into Flanders with the main body of his 
army^ to prosecute his war against the French, in the 
full confidence that Scotland had at length been perma- 
nently subdued. 

" Li Ray Sir Eduuard, Escoce fet garder ; 
Li Quens, Ion de Garenne, i est chef justiser 
Et Henry de Percy ad Galway a guyer." 5 

While the monkish chroniclers, to whose industry the 

» The incident is described in the Chronicon de Gisseborne de rebus 
gestis Edvardi /., //. et IIL^ after recording that the king had con- 
ferred knighthood upon " Henricum, scilicet de Percy, cum aliis multis." 
—See also Seldon's Titles of Honour, JIL, 814. 

* ** The king, it is said, sent Sir Hugh Spenser with Sir Henry Percy 
and other noblemen with a part of his hoste to lay siege unto the Castle 
of Patrick of Dunbarre, where, when they had lyen a certain time, an 
army of the Scottes came thither to remove the siege, with whom the 
Englishmen had a feirce and cruel battayle; but in the end, by the 
help of God, the Englishmen had the victorie and slew the Scottes 
above the number of twenty thousand" — Grafton, p. 295. 

3 Rot, Scot. Sept 1296. 

-♦ Henry de Percy's name occurs in all the lists of " magnates en a 
compaignie le Roi," which have been preserved. These lists also 
enumerate the knights and gentlemen in attendance upon the English 
nobles, and we find Mons Phill de Lyndesey named as in 'Ma com- 
paignie M. Henri Perci." 

See Sir Francis Palgrave's Documents and Records^ Scotland, p. 267. 

5 Langtoft's Chronicle, vol ii. p. 258; the barbarous Frendi in which 
this metrical history is written, is thus rendered by the accomplished 
editor, Thomas Wright : 

" The King Sire Edward places Scotland under guard , 
The Earl John of Warrene is there Chief Justice, 
And Hemy de Percy has Galloway to rule." 


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history of England in the middle ages is so deeply in- a.d. 1296 
debted, had corrupted the Norman French into such 
jargon ' as is here quoted, the unlettered barons continued 
to speak the language of their forefathers with compara- 
tive purity, and also to employ it by preference in official 
correspondence and documents of a public character. 
The following letters may be quoted as specimens of 
military despatches at the close of the thirteenth 
century : 

King Edward the First to Sir Henry de Percy. 

" Purceo qu nous beoms estre al aide de Dieu a Car- 
loil (Carlisle) la veille de la Pentecost prochain avenir, 
pur aler auant en la besoigne d*Escoce sur les enemy's 
de la coroune & du Roiaume d'Engleterre, et pur leur 
desobeisanse et leur malice refreindre qu'autre chose 
ne entendant que abesser la dite coroune et Testat du dit 
Roiaume d'Engleterre a leur poer, et aussint pur mettre 
nos feaux e leaux ceux as queux nous auons terres don6s 
et donerons en les parties d'Escoce en seisine et en etat 
de leur terres, 

" Et outre ceo que Dieu vous enseignera nous vous 
prions especiaument en la feu et en la ligeance que vous 
ester tenuz a nous, et d la corone d'Engleterre, fermement 
enjoignons qu au dit terme de la veille de Pentecost, soiez 
a nous a Carloil, as chevas et armes le plus assourement 
que vous purres, pur aler avant a la dite besoign selonc 

* Which still survives in our technical law terms. The distinction 
between the true French and the spurious dialect then spoken and 
written in England was, however, perfectly understood. Thus Chaucer 
says of his Prioress : 

** And frensch she speak full faire and fetisly, 
A/tfr the scole of Stratford atte Bowe^ 
Bui frensch of Parys was to hyr unknowe,*^ 

— Prologue to Canterbury Tales, i. 124. 


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A.D. ceo qil serra ordone par nous, et par les bones gentz que 
"75J[3 serront ovec nous a cete heure. 

" E ceo sicom vous auez le honeur et le profits de vous 
et du dit nostre roiaume, et le vestre propre en nul 
manure le Lassez." 

Sir Henry Percy to King Edward /• 

'* Sachez, Sire, que je ai receu vos lettres les queles 
vous me enveiastes par Richard de Thirstone, mon 
vadlet, e bien ai entendu. Sire, ce que vous me avez 
mand6 de vos bosoignes e faz a saver a votre Seigneurye 
que je suy ale en la companie mon seignor le Counte a 
Berewike ou ly e mey e autre serrons le Samedie apres 
le Seinte Margerete a fournir vos mandemenz en la 
meilleure manere qom porra au profit e la honour de 
vous ; e si cest en mond com je en saueray nule cer- 
teynetee je la fray saver a vostre Seignorie ove tote la 
haste que je porray. Escrites a Annewik le Vendredi 
apres la Seinte Magarete." ' 

Lord Percy and Lord de Clifford had at this period 
been appointed King Edward's commissioners or " che- 
ventains" for negotiating peace with Scotland and re- 
ceiving the submission of the Border chiefs.* Robert 
Bruce the younger, and other of the powerful nobles in 
arms against England, accordingly appeared before them 
in June 1296, and acknowledged their various offences 
against their lawful sovereign, for which they offer to 

» Royal Letter, 3342, RR.O. 

' In the several spurious documents bearing the date of about this 
period, by which in later times it was attempted to establish the ac- 
knowledgment on the part of the Kings of Scotland of the supremacy of 
the English Crown, we find the name of Henry de Percy as one of the 
subscribing agents. For an interesting account of these curious papers 
and their probable origin, see Introduction to Palgrave's Documents 
and Records: Scotland, 


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"fayre les amendes haut e bas a sa volente, des ditz a.d, 1296 
homecides arsons et roberies ; sauve a nous les pointz con- 
tenuz en un escrit le quel nous avoms de mon sire Henri 
de Percy, et monsire Robert de Clifforth, cheventeins del 
ost au noble Rey de Engleterre es parties de Escoce." ' 

The Percy seal attached to this curious document 
bears the Brabant lion upon a field ornamented with 
scrolls, surrounded with the words (indicative of the office 
in which he was employed) " Secretum secretorum." 

One of the conditions imposed upon the Scots by the 
English king was the delivery of female hostages, among 
whom the commissioners were ordered to receive Margery 
the daughter of Robert Bruce, and Christine, his sister, 
the wife of Christopher Lord Seton. These ladies were 
in the first instance ordered to be sent to the Tower of 
London, " pour estre mise ilueques en kage, et que ele ne 
parle a nul homme ne nul homme a li, fors ceux que le 
conestable de la Tour assignera pour la garden" Subse- 
quently, however, Lord Percy was authorised to receive 
these hostages into his own charge, "pour la mettre en 
Engleterre en sauve garde." * 

The truce was however, as usual, of short duration. 
The valour and patriotic zeal of William Wallace had 
rekindled the waning hopes of the Scots. At his bidding 
the country once more rose in arms. The Earl of War- 
ren suffered a severe defeat, and the English garrisons 
in occupation of a number of scattered positions were 
slaughtered, or driven across the border. 

* Documents and Records of the History of Scotland^ by Sir Francis 
Palgrave, p. 198. 

' Ibid, p. 359. Another of these hostages, the countess of Buchan, 
was less fortunate ; she was ordered to be kept in a cage in Berwick 
Castle ; but the story of the cage having been hung outside the walls of 
the fortress is probably a fable. 


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A.D. In compliance with a writ of military summons ' ad- 

12752J368 (jressed to them, the Lords Percy and Clifford raised a 
large force in the north for an invasion of Scotland, and 
the character of this levy affords an illustration of the 
give-and-take principle of feudal service ; showing that 
the power of the lord over his vassal was not quite as 
arbitrary as is generally supposed, and that the latter 
could and did stand upon his legal rights. 

Under the Border Law," every tenant in Northum- 
berland and Cumberland was required to have " such a 
nagge as is able at anye time to beare a man twentie 
myles wythin Scotland and backe again without a rest ; " 
and the Law of the Marches imposed other services of 
an aggressive as well as of a defensive nature, irrespective 
of the feudal obligations involved in tenure by knights' 
fees. A far heavier burden thus rested upon the popu- 
lation of the Border provinces than elsewhere, in consider- 
ation of which the tenantry appear to have been accorded 
some exceptional rights and privileges.^ 

Possibly the example of the bold attitude which the 
northern barons had more than once assumed towards 
the sovereign, when, in their opinion, their just rights 
and privileges had been threatened or invaded by royal 
authority, was not altogether lost upon their followers. 

» Equis et armis. Dors, Claus, m. 5, 26 Edward I. It is stated that 
no less than 198 military tenants of the Crown assembled at Carlisle in 
answer to this summons. 

» The Border Laws were supplementary to the Laws of the Marches, 
and are stated to be framed, firstly, on the principles of Xht jus gentium 
or international obligations ; secondly, with a view to " restraining the 
evil manners and untowardness of the subjects of both the realms ; " 
and thirdly, to give eflfect to the unwritten law founded upon the jocal 
customs and acknowledged rights on both sides of the border. See 
Nicolson's Leges Marchiarum, p. 119. 

3 The privileges and exemptions anciently enjoyed by the tenants and 
inhabitants of the northern counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, 
Westmoreland, and Durham are recited in an Act passed by Parliament 
in 1580. A comprehensive abstract of this Bill will be found in the 
Alnwick MSS. voL iii. 


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The Cumberland men, who had, at the call of Percy A.D.jL2gj 
and Clifford cheerfully provided a large contingent to 
carry the war into the heart of Scotland, now entered a 
formal protest against this being taken as a precedent 
for service due, or anything beyond a voluntary act on 
their part dictated by motives of personal regard for 
their military chiefs ; who in their turn thus acknowledge 
the justice and propriety of the pretensions asserted by 
their tenantry : 

" Whereas you have freely consented to make an 
expedition along with us against the enemies of our Lord 
the King into Scotland, we, having regard to your good 
will, grant to you, and by these our Letters Patent bind 
ourselves to let you have the Letters Patent of our Lord 
the King, sealed with his seal, between the- day on which 
these present letters are made and the feast of St 
Michael next following, that this expedition, which you 
of your free will make unto us, shall not be turned as 
a service to you, nor to your heirs, nor shall our said Lord 
the King, nor his heirs, be able to demand any service as 
of right from you, or from your heirs, by right of this 

expedition." ' ^ 

# # 

In 1300 we find Percy with the Earl of Warren at 
the siege of Karleverok, which became the subject of a 
curious heraldic poem wherein the armorial bearings of 
the English barons are set forth with great minuteness, 
the banner of Henry de Percy being thus described : 

" E ot en son assemblement 
Henri de Perci, son nevou,' 
De ky sembloit ke eust fait vou 

* Privy Seal Papers, Record Office, 2$ Sept 1297. 
" A mistake. Henry de Percy was not this earl of Warren's nephew, 
but his grandson. 


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A.D. De aler les Escoces derompant 

1 275-1368 Jaune o un bleu lyon rampant 

— Fu sa baner bien vnable." * 

In the following year he was engaged in a very differ- 
ent conflict. Eleventh on the list of the one hundred 
and four barons who subscribed the famous letter of 
remonstrance to Pope Boniface VII.' stands the name 
of " Henry de Percy, Dominus de Topcliffe." ^ 

"Our Sovereign Lord the King," said our sturdy 
barons, " shall in no wise answere in judgement before 
you . . . nor suffer his rights to be brought in question ; 
neither shall he send any procurators unto your presence 
for this purpose ; for such proceedings would be to the 
manifest disinherison of the title and right of the Crown 
of this realm and the dignity of the kingdom, and to 
the prejudice of the liberties, customs, and laws of our 
forefathers ; to the observance and defence whereof we 
are bound and obliged by our oaths, and which we will, 
God willing, defend and maintain with all our power. 

« Cotton MSS. Calig. A. XVIIL f. 24 b. The lines may be ren- 
dered : — 

" In his retinue there was 
His nephew Sir Henry de Percy, 
Who seemed to have made a vow 
To ride roughshod over the Scots. 
Conspicuous was his banner with 
A lion azure on a golden Held." 
• Whose pretensions, derived from King John's humiliating submission 
to Rome, amounted to little less than that claim to complete supremacy 
over the kingdom of England which, in 1245, Pope Innocent the 
Fourth had expressed to the Bishop of Lincoln in these arrogant 
words : 

"Nonne rex Anglorum noster est vassalus, et, .ut plus dicam, 
mancipium ? " 

3 Sir Henry Ellis attaches much interest to this document apart from 
its historical purport, because of its afifording the earliest and most 
authentic evidence now extant of the armorial bearings of the baronage 
of England. The custom of quartering arms is of later date, and 
Henry de Percy's seal, attached to this document, exhibits only the 
arms of Brabant For an account of the ancient armorial bearings of 
the house, see Longstaffe's Badges of the PercieSy and Hartshome's Feudal 
and Military Antiquities of Northumberland^ pp. 301-307. 


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Neither do we, nor will we, permit, as we neither can a.d. 1301 
nor ought, our aforesaid Lord the King to do or attempt 
to do, even if he wished it, any of the things aforesaid, 
being things unaccustomed and unlawful and at no time 
before ever heard of." ' 

Does not the spirit which nearly a century before 
animated their ancestors at Runnymede breathe through 
every line of this brave assertion of national indepen- 
dence on the part of these worthy champions of English 
liberties ? 

# # 

In the meanwhile the war in Scotland was raging with 
varying fortunes, and in the brave Wallace, Henry de 
Percy had found a foe worthy of his steel. The ancient 
Scottish chronicler, who has thrown a halo of romance 
over the career of his hero, has not failed to do justice to 
his English adversary,* whom he describes as "true, and 
ay of great avail, sober in peace and cruel in battail," 
and to whose strict discipline he thus bears testimony : 

** The Percies' men in war were used weel, 
Right fiercely fought, and sonzied not a deeL" 3 

Aylmer de Valence,^ then in chief command of the 
English armies, had, it appears, assembled the barons to 
consult upon the plan of campaign. 

» FmdercLt torn. ii. 873. 

' ** The life and adventures and heroic actions of Sir William Wallace, 
written in Latin by Mr. John Blair his chaplain, and turned into Scots 
metre by one called Blind Harry, in the days of King James the 
Fourth. See Addition to Appendix II. A. 

3 A contemporary monkish writer also testifies to the good conduct of 
Percy's retainers, and describes him as '^vir magnanimus quia noluit 
injuriam pati ab aliquo sine grave vindicata," and who "ita strenue 
gubemabat servos suos, quod in toto regno Angliae timebantur," — 
Chronica Monasterii de Alnewyke, Harl. MSS. 692, fol. 195*203. 

-♦ Son of William de Valence, first Earl of Pembroke of that name 
(created 1247), who was slain at Bayonne in 1296. Aylmer was a brave 
and skilful soldier, but cruel and treacherous. He fell while fighting 
under Queen Isabel against the Spensers in 1323. 


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A.D. " The Lord Piercie to Glasgow did repare, 

1275-1368 And with wise lords he held a council there. 

Sir Aymer Vallance a false traytor and strong, 
In Bothwell dwelt, and there was then among. 
He said, my Lord, my counsel will I give, 
But ye do it, from skaith ye may not live, 
Ye must take peace, without more tarrying." 

It was then proposed by him to invite the Scottish 

leaders to an interview, and by admitting them one by 

one into " the barns of Ayr," that were so constructed as 

to allow of only one man entering at a time, to make 

away with them. 

** Four great Bams that tyme stood into Ayre, 
Wrought for the King, when his lodging was there, 
Bigged about that no man enter might, 
But one at once, nor have of other sight 
There they ordained these Lordes should be slaine. 

"To Piercie of this matter charge they laid ; 
With sad advice to them again he said : 
These men to me have kepit trewth so lang. 
Deceitfully I may not see them hang. 
I am their foe, and warn them will I nought ; 
So I be quit, I reck not what be wrought 
From hence I will, and unto Glasgow draw. 
With our Bishop to hear of his new law." 

Percy's sudden withdrawal warned Wallace that 

treachery was contemplated : 

** Right well he wist, frae Piercey fled that land, 
Great peril was to the Scots appearand ; " 

and instead of negotiating he attacked Anthony Beck, 

Bishop of Durham, who, joined by Henry de Percy, 

occupied Glasgow, and defeated him with heavy loss. 

In his account of this engagement Blind Harry has so 

far drawn upon his imagination as to describe the death 

of Percy, by the hands of the Scottish chieftain : 

" Then Wallace self into that fellon throng 
With his good sword, that heavy was and long, 
At Piercie's face with a good will he bare ; 
Both bone and brain the forged steel through share. 
Four hundred men, when Lord Piercie was dead, 
Out of the gate the Bishop Beck then lead." 


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In 1306, Wallace having been taken and executed in a.d^307 
the interval, we find this dead Percy doing excellent 
service under the Prince of Wales,' and in the following 
year, among other exploits, making two important 
prisoners at Lochryan in Galloway : 

" Henry Percy toke the brethren two 
Of Kyng Robert, Alexander and Thomas hight 
To the justes them sent that hanged were tho, 
His other brother at London hanged ryght ; * 
King Robert then besieged the Percy wyght ; 
But Umfreville him anon rescued 
And the syege from him anon removed." 3 

When King Edward lay dying at Burgh-on-the-Sands, 
near Carlisle, Henry de Percy, Aylmer de Valence, and 
Robert de Clifford stood beside him and solemnly en- 
gaged themselves to secure his son's succession, and to 
crown Prince Edward ** in as convenient time after the 
king's death as they might, and to keep the land to his 

use until he was crowned." * 

♦ # 

It had been the policy of Edward the First to give his 

commanders a personal interest in their victories, by 

conferring upon them part of whatever territories they 

conquered. It was an expensive mode of rewarding 

service,^ since the lands so granted could only be held by 

the tenure of the sword, and as a rule reverted to their 

former owners on the withdrawal of English garrisons. 

» Speed, p. 645. See also Walsingham. 

• Nigel Bruce had been previously taken by Aylmer de Valence, and 
was hanged by the King's orders at Berwick. Percy's two royal prisoners 
were hanged at Carlisle. The wholesale executions of the brave 
Scottish soldiers who, in fighting for the defence of their country, fell 
into the hands of the English, are an indelible blot upon the reign of 
Edward the First. 

3 Hardyng's Chronicle, Henry Percy, closely pressed by King Robert, 
had taken refuge in Tumberry Castle, and was only saved by an army 
being sent by King Edward to raise the siege. * Grafton, i. p. 307. 

5 Sir Francis Palgrave remarks that " the king was thus enabled to pay 
them by expectation, and each individual would exert himself more to 
conquer the foe whose lands were to be his own." 


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A.D The grants made in this wise to Sir Henry Percy were 

"752J3 Qf y^jy considerable extent, including a great part of 

Galloway and the earldom of Carrick ; but he derived 

profit from these possessions only so long as his army 

remained in occupation. 

He now, however, obtained the royal license to pur- 
chase an English lordship of great importance, the owner- 
ship of which, added to his other large landed possessions 
in the north, placed him at once in the foremost ranks of 
the great barons of the realm.' 

The date of the first building of Alnwick Castle is not 
recorded. There existed a village of the name before 
the Conquest, and Gilbert de Tyson, or Tesson, Duke 
William's standard-bearer at Hastings, was the first holder 
of the barony of Alnwick. Before the close of the eleventh 
century it had passed into the hands of the Vescys, and 
the site became memorable from the action fought here 
in 1092, in which King Malcolm of Scotland lost his life." 
The ancient historians state that the king fell at the siege 
and under the walls of "Alnwick Castle," whence we may 
conclude that some kind of stronghold then existed on 
the banks of the Alne. In 1135 it is spoken of as 
"most strongly fortified," and in the course of the 
ensuing century it gradually increased in importance 
and extent, until in 12 10 it covered its present area, 
and ranked only second, among northern fortresses, to 
Durham, Newcastle, Carlisle, and Norham castles. ^ 

The barony remained in possession of the family until 
1297, when William de Vescy, shortly before his death, 
having no lawful heir, "did, by the king's license, 

« The connection of the Percies with the county from which their 
earldom derived its name dates from this period, down to which they 
had been exclusively a Yorkshire family. 

• The cross commemorating the event still stands on the spot where 
he fell, and the spring to which he was carried to die is still to be seen. 

3 For the extent and value of Alnwick Castle and its appurtenances, 
see Appendix III. 


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infeoff that great prelate, Anthony Beke, Bishop of a.d. 1309 
Durham and Patriarch of Jerusalem,' in the Castle of 
Ahiwick and divers other lands ; with trust and special 
confidence, that he should retain them for the behoof of 
William de Vesci, his bastard son, at that time young, 
until he came of full age." * 

The old baron's " trust and special confidence " were 
misplaced ; for the bishop, after having held this property 
to his own use for twelve years, claimed and obtained 
the right to dispose of it for his personal benefit ; and, 
accordingly, in 1309,^ sold the Barony and Castle to 
Sir Henry de Percy. 

There does not appear at that time to have been any 
question as to the validity of the title, for the transfer 
was confirmed by Act of Parliament in the following 
year, and there is no record of the intended heir having 
protested against the transaction. 

It was not until after his death, and that of Henry de 
Percy himself, that Sir William Aton asserted his claim 
to the barony as next of kin to the old William de 
Vescy. Whether from recognition of his legal right, or 
from moral scruples, the second Lord Percy of Alnwick 
did not dispute the claim, but proposed a compromise, 
and finally obtained a formal release, in consideration of 
a payment of seven hundred marks. 

The castle would appear to have been in a very 
dilapidated condition when the bishop transferred it to 
Henry de Percy ; who, indeed, may be said to have 
reconstructed it, since its principal features of that 
date which now remain, are the work of his hand. 

« Bishop Bek, or Beck, who played an important part in the history of 
his time, died in 13 11, when the king made Henry de Percy guardian 
of the bishopric of Durham, pending the election of a new bishop, 
with an allowance of 300 marks a year. Rot Fin, 4 Edw* 11. m. 10. 

• Dugdale's Baronage^ vol. i. p. 95. 

3 Fadera, torn. ii. p. 183. See dso Rot Pat 3 Edward II. m. 30, 
under which the sale was sanctioned. 

VOL. I. 65 F 

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A.D. He It was who built from their foundation " the barbi- 
1 275^13 ^^^ and gate-house of approach, the western garret, the 
Abbot's Tower, the Falconer's Tower, the Armourer s 
Tower, the Postern Tower or Sally-port, the Constable's 
Tower, the Ravine Tower, the tower and gateway be- 
twixt the outer and middle baly, great portion of the 
east side of the keep, the well, and in all probability a 
tower standing on the foundation of the present Record 
Tower ; as well as all the intermediate ones westwards 
up to the barbican. There are marks of his work more 
or less numerous throughout the whole building in this 
direction. Obliterated in some places by modern re- 
paration, then again apparent for a few feet, mingled 
with earlier and disfigured by later masonry, it is yet 
perpetually apparent, and unmistakably shows how much 

of the building is due to his exertions." * 

# # 

An accomplished French knight. Piers de Galvestone, 
had been selected by Edward the First as a companion 
for his young son, the future King of England ; but his 
profligate example and evil influence, together with an 
insolent bearing towards the English nobles, had given 
such universal offence that he had been banished the 
realm. It had been one of the last injunctions of the 
dying king at Carlisle to his son, that he would under no 
circumstances recall the obnoxious favourite ; but the 
young Prince had no sooner ascended the throne than 
Galvestone reappeared at the English court, and was 
overwhelmed with favours and dignities. He was 
married to the king's niece, made custodian of the 
realm, created Earl of Cornwall,* and invested with 

* Feudal and Military Antiquities of Northumberland^ by the Rev. 
Charles H. Hartshome, M.A., vol ii. p. 170. 

• This creation, which comprised the grant of the entire revenues of 
the county of Cornwall, was so offensive to the barons that they refused 
to address Galvestone by the title conferred upon him. 


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large possessions and lucrative offices. So far from a.d. 13 12 
seeking to conciliate his numerous enemies, he re- 
assumed his ascendency over the king with ostenta- 
tious arrogance ; lavished the public treasure upon his 
foreign followers, and treated the most powerful English 
barons with studied contempt and disdain. 

His unrivalled skill in all martial exercises, together 
with extraordinary physical strength, made him a formid- 
able competitor in joust and tournament ; and when some 
renowned English knight fell under the unerring thrust 
of his lance, he would take delight in aggravating the 
wounded vanity of his opponents by offensive taunts, 
and the stings of a trenchant and bitter wit 

In the second parliament of the new reign ' a bill was 
introduced, nominally for the better regulation of the king s 
household ; actually to rid the country of the favourite. 
Lord Percy was elected one of the twelve ** ordainers " 
for giving effect to this measure ; and the king, powerless 
to resist, could only so far soften the effect of Galvestone's 
banishment as to convert it into honourable exile by 
nominating him Governor of Ireland, whence he shortly 
after returned with a large French following in open 
defiance of his judges. 

A second formal sentence of banishment was not more 
effectual, and the barons now formed themselves into 
an anned confederacy under the Earl of Lancaster,' 
and sword in hand insisted upon compliance with their 
demands. Edward stood by his favourite and unfurled 
his banners at York, having first placed Galvestone in 
security at Scarborough Castle, where Pembroke and 
Percy at once followed him, and, in spite of the king's 

' This parliament was composed of twenty bishops, sixty-two abbots, 
fourteen earls, and seventy-four barons. 

' Thomas Plantagenet, second Earl of Lancaster, grandson of Henry 
the Third. He was defeated and taken prisoner by the royal forces at 
Boroughbridge in 1322, and executed at Pontefract Castle. 

67 F 2 

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A.D. command, addressed to them personally, to withdraw,' 
^^Ts^iSbS compelled him to surrender, on condition that, if no 
accommodation could be effected with the king within 
two months, he should be reinstated in command of the 
castle. Notwithstanding this guarantee he was seized by 
the Earl of Warwick * and executed in the presence of 
the Earls of Lancaster, Hereford, and Surrey. 

There is nothing on record to establish how far Lord 
Percy was implicated in this act, or responsible for the 
breach of faith involved in it. Pembroke's treacherous 
character justifies the suspicion that in satisfying Edward 
of his own innocence in the matter, he had thrown the 
blame upon his companion in arms ; for while he himself 
retained the royal favour, orders were despatched for the 
arrest of Lord Percy,^ whose lands were shortly after 

The baronial league was, however, too powerful to 
allow of the king offering prolonged resistance. The 
proclamations were withdrawn ; letters of safe conduct 
were issued to the leaders of the rebellion,* and Henry 
de Percy was not only included in the general pardon,' 
but in the following year received the governorship of 
Scarborough and Bamborough castles, and the warden- 
ship of the forests on this side Trent, which had become 
vacant by Galvestone's death. About the same time he 
was granted free warren of all his lands in Yorkshire. 
Among the documents of this period we find a license 

« Fctdera^ torn, iil p. 328, 17th May, 1312. 

• Guy Beauchamp, second Earl of Warwick. 

3 The warrant addressed to John de Mowbray for Percy's arrest set 
forth that he had ** engaged himself under penalty of life and limb, 
land and tenements, to keep safe from damage Piers de Galvestone, 
Earl of Cornwall, for a certain time according to certain terms and 
conditions, to the said king and others,, without the Castle of Scar- 
borough, and that now the said Piers de Galvestone had been killed 
before the time stipulated." — Fctdera^ iil 334. 

♦ See Appendix IV. s Fcedera^ liL 443. 


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to Lord Perqr to have mass performed during the sitting a,d. 1314 
of Parliament in a chapel or oratory in the house of the 
Friars Preachers of York, and a summons to attend a 
council of war convened by Archbishop Greenfield 
"pour trater pourvoyer et ordiner coment nostre dit 
pays du north pure estre meux sauve et defendu en- 
countre les enemys d'Escoce."' 

The result of this conference was the determination to 
carry the war into the enemy's country on a scale hitherto 
unattempted. The army raised for the purpose was 
computed to number not less than one hundred thousand 
men, nearly one half of whom were mounted ; and of 
these over three thousand are described as having been, 
man and horse, clad in complete armour. The King in 
person took the command ; and crossing the border, sur- 
rounded by the flower of English chivalry, advanced 
unopposed upon Stirling Castle, before which Robert 
Bruce lay with only thirty thousand men. The bright 
sun of a cloudless summer's morning rose upon the first 
shock of these unequally matched forces ; it set upon the 
scattered and broken remnant of the invading army, and 
the dead bodies of forty thousand Englishmen.* 25 June. 

In early youth Lord Percy had shared in the triumphs 
and victories which had made the first Edward the 
virtual King of Scotland. He now beheld the last 
trace of English ascendency obliterated in a humiliating 
defeat, many of his friends and companions ^ and the 
greater part of his retainers slain ; while he himself, in 
covering the headlong flight of the King of England, fell 

« Reg. Archiep. Greenfield, Lambeth Palace, ii. pp. 79 and 32. 

• It is so common a practice to ascribe unexpected defeat to treachery, 
that the charges brought against a number of English barons of having 
on this occasion failed in their duty are open to suspicion ; but there 
must have been culpable negligence or incapacity, to account for the 
complete overthrow of the invading army by so small a Scottish force. 

3 Forty-two English barons fell in this fight. 


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A.D. a prisoner into the hands of the enemy.' Ransomed 
1275-13 j^Q^ jQj^g after, he returned to England only to die in the 
flower of his manhood.* 

The first Lord Percy of Alnwick had married Eleanor, ^ 
the daughter of John Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, a lineal 
descendant of Queen Adelicia,* with whom he had ob- 
tained a considerable accession of lands in Sussex.* Of 
their two sons, the only issue of this marriage, William, 
the younger, died childless in 1355, and all that we find re- 
corded of him is the fact of his having been made a Knight 

of the Bath on the accession of Edward the Third.^ 

# # 

A monkish writer describes the second Baron of Aln- 
wick as having from early youth been honourably distin- 
guished for pre-eminence in all martial exercises,^ and 

* " King Robert Brays toke Robert Vmfreuile, 
Erie of Angeos, Henry then lord Percy. 
Th* Erie of Marche, also the lord Neuile, 
Acton and Scropen, and also the Lord Lucy 
At Stryueljrn Bridge, fight)mg mightyly 
In the vanward of the forsaid battaiU, 
Taken prisoners, and rainsomed for auayle." 

Hardyng's Chronicle^ p. 306. 
There is no mention in other histories of Lord Percy having been 
among the prisoners taken at Bannockboume ; but Hardyng, from his 
intimate association with the family, is not likely to have been misin- 
formed on the point 

• See Inquis, Post Mort. 8 Edward IL (13 14), where it is stated 
that the heir was then thirteen years of age. 

3 "Ista Alianora obiit anno dni MCCCXXVIII.; hsec edificavit capel- 
1am de Semar." — lAttle Pedigru Roll of Percy and Vesd^ circ. 1460. 

♦ On the death of William d' Albini, third Earl of Arandel (Adelida's 
grandson), the earldom had passed ,to the son of his only daughter, 
Isabel, wife of John Fitzalan, Lord of Clun (he died in 1268), the im- 
mediate ancestor of thirteen successive Earls of Arundel of that name, 
of whom the last died childless in 157 1. 

5 According to the Return of the King's escheator, Lord Percy held 
of the Earl of Amndel the manor of Petworth and advowson of church 
and tenements of Heyshot, by twenty-one knights' fees; while the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, William Zouche, and William Paynell, held of 
Percy lands in the same county to the value of ^81, by service of eight 
and a half knights' fees. — Inquis, Post Mort^ 8 Edward IL, No. 65. 
[13 14.] ^ Sea Anstis's Roll of Klnights of the Bath. 

7 '* In tomeamends et hastiludiis semper exstitit ita potens ut cum 
summo honore." — Chronica Monasterii de Alnetvyke. 


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Digitized by 


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niE SF'.OND BAKijN CT A^ '* 

'! ;1 

,r> h/iving l;ecoine *" bcy(n;d all Li . 
f .:nous and powerful/' 

HcWcisoii!) in his ioLirttc: ".. ^ •/ 
! jt befprti attaining his m.t^ : hi,-):..- \ 

!;.'^i:.l his inih'tary reputatioii i:* ' " i: v v. .,. - 

Sc<^i; ' as to have led tliC kin^ ' - • -' ■ ? . . r, > 

favc- .r ;'the rig'ht of guardiansl.":' -> Ci-t'j/ 

{\vii:-:'i had beco^ine the ob*»e';t ot ^ ■ ]- t'\M 

r '.. 'r Borderers^ and the cii^tcxly . * .. r^^- 

• V r',y' ininoriiy, been conA:rrcd w;:. ;^ - 
' It riL r to entrust to hib defencr, ^■. h-. - \ 
i: 'h y( ^" the fortresstts uf Scarbor^uyl". an(i : . .. 
': rt: ir.-nrtance which Alnwick C i^tlc had b}- u 
ati. ' M H> a mihtary strongh-^ld is in/icated by a 

d by r^'ehon in J 314, avcordinc, to which a garrison 

■ ':i-'i foot under thn-<^ kni^^dits and thirty-seven 

w •, during &M \ ar ni.ii-Uained within its wa!!^ 




K. I. 


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f n. 

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}' • St It; 

/ i.T^7 2 _ _ 

' '1.1/ tDFci^n enerriics a^a.. 
^Uny gtv'lemvnin thos. 
•d fallt-n iJivjer attaint i^-r or 
head ot which they ravai.'** 
t.crr> the pt-iceful in- ilitai* 
^'jton, thu: the Po]'C*s l.'iri 
':'nd in 3316. were ^'>bl)c(l, ^ 
M for ransom. In* ly Te . 
;>pie^sin.q this t rif;:tKla^;^ , 
f a paymetit by t^.c k"K • 
>urne, oi.e of his retain < r^, 
' - Ri'iiard de Middlet-.n. 
: ' < -e "-J mind thru ihe Crovm a 
■ !. carried on a very prcl?.ni "' 
) •^ of wh:«h wtre eithtn '.in 
. ■ uic^-t With a mandate ir* i ' 

wiioui tr.c r-orui -'a 

rts who in v'.i' . vr;- 

law'Ti hr. i If ..-. 

\e COVn.tlV a' ' - 

irnt., . 

, .r;t;s t't corn anniiai . 
f^-i'.; by the death of I'v: 

• J 

• III auowance o£ icc . 

• , I Motes this retun- c 

♦ ., • 

-' • \ . i*^ Htuin et xxx\ :. 

.''■•.. ' 

' . ;.•"■ ' > • '1 ''inituuni " lo: 

v.: . 

w < ' • ■'.<-: :lv i< j;jcd. 


iiiliOtC, ■ 

vtkc ^.:llJ[l 

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as having become " beyond all his ancestors the most a.d. 132a 
famous and powerful." 

He was only in his fourteenth year when his father died, 
but before attaining his majority he had so far estab- 
lished his military reputation in many a conflict with the 
Scots ' as to have led the king not only to forego in his 
favour [the right of guardianship over Alnwick Castle,* 
(which had become the object of constant attack by the 
hostile Borderers, and the custody of which had, during 
Percy's minority, been conferred upon John de Felton,^) 
but also to entrust to his defence, while only in his twen- 
tieth year, the fortresses of Scarborough and Pickering. 

The importance which Alnwick Castle had by this time 
attained as a military stronghold is indicated by a return 
furnished by Felton in 13 14, according to which a garrison 
of horse and foot under three knights and thirty-seven 
esquires was during that year maintained within its walls 
at a cost of j£ 1,1^7 2s. gd.^ 

' Nor was it only foreign enemies against whom the northern barons 
had to contend. Many gentlemen in those parts who in the course of civil 
dissensions had fallen under attainder or outlawry, had formed armed 
bands at the head of which they ravaged the country and exacted 
contributions from the peaceful inhabitants. It was by one of these, 
Gilbert de Middleton, that the Pope's legates, on their way to negotiate 
peace with Scotland in 13 16, were robbed, while the Bishop of Durham 
was seized and held for ransom. Henry Percy appears to have taken an 
active part in suppressmg this brigandage, and the Exchequer Rolls 
contain an entry of a payment by the long's gift of ;;^66 13J. 4d. to 
Thomas de Fishboume, one of his retainers, for capturing one of the 
principal offenders, Richard de Middleton. 

* It must be borne in mind that the Crown at this time, and down to a 
much later period, carried on a very profitable traffic in the estates of 
minors, the revenues of which were either farmed out, or appropriated 
to the royal use. We meet with a mandate in 13 16 in favour of "the Prior 
of Fame, for five quarters of com annually, out of the Castle of Alnwick 
in the hands of the king by the death of Henry de Percy." — jRcf. C/aus. 
10 Edw. 11. m. 25. 

3 With an annual allowance of 100 marks. — Ahbrtv. Rot Orig. 
vol. i. p. 215. 

4 Hartshome (p. 171) quotes this return correctly in a footnote, but 
in his text renders "trium militum et xxxvii. armigerorum '[ as "3,037 
men," having evidently misread "militum " for "millium," a mistake which 
other writers have inadvertently copied. 


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A,D. I n 1 3 2 2 Henry de Percy was made a Knight of the Bath, 

1*752^368 ^^ Qj^iy creation in that year, on which occasion he re- 
ceived from the royal wardrobe, *' beside scarlet robes and 
murrey-coloured cloth, a tunic and cloak for his vigils."' 

In the same year he took part in an expedition into 
Scotland under the king,* and penetrated to the walls of 
Edinburgh : 

"Th* Erie Edmund, then of Arundel, 
Warden of the marches then constitute, 
Th' erle Robert of Angous, Umfreuille, 
Of his lands having no refute, 
Th' erle David of Atholl destitute 
Of his erledom, the Lord Percy full hardy. 
The Lord Neuile, the Lord Beaumont manly, 
With all the power of the north countree. 
Destroyed then Scotlande and brent 
Upon the march unto Lyntell Lee." 3 

* * 

Unwarned by experience, King Edward had once more 

fallen under the evil influence of a personal favourite, 
who, though devoid of the attractions and accomplish- 
ments of Piers de Galvestone, acquired an equal ascend- 
ency at court, and to an equal degree abused his position 
and aroused popular resentment/ 

Hardyng includes the name of Henry de Percy in the 
baronial league which, under the Earl of Lancaster, had 
taken up arms against the new favourite : 

"Th' erle Umfrey of Hereford that was bold, 

Th' erle of March'e full manly as men knewe, 

Th' Mowbray also, Percy and Clifford drewe, 

All armed came, and the two Spensers exiled 

Out fro' Englande never to be reconsyled/' ^ 

■ History of the Order of the Bath^ by Sir Harris Nicholas. 

■ " King Edward departed with all his oste towards Scottland, and 
passed through the landes of the Lord Percy and of the Lord Nevill, 
who were two great lords in Northumberland, and marched on the 
Scottis." — ^Froissart 3 Hardyng's Chronicle^ p. 308. 

^ Hugh Spenser, or Despenser, a man of obscure origin, had,ytfr^ 
uxorisy become Earl of Gloucester, on his marriage with the daughter and 
co-heiress of Gilbert de Clare, while his father had been created Earl of 
Wmchester in 1322. They were both executed in 1325. 

5 Hardyng's Chronicle^ p. 309. 


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It IS, nevertheless, doubtful whether Henry de Percy A.D.^27 
had joined the league at that time, or until after the 
return of the exiled Spensers in 1322 ; for when in the 
previous year the insurgents besieged Tickhill Castle, 
we find his name among those of the royal barons who 
in accordance with summonses addressed to them levied 
troops to relieve the beleaguered garrison." 

When, however, in defiance of their sentence, the 
Spensers once more appeared at court, and Queen Isabel, 
relying upon the universal hatred that their presence 
inspired, landed at Harwich with her young son. Lord 
Percy with a powerful following at once placed himself 
at her disposal. 

The service was generously requited as soon as, on his 
father's abdication. Prince Edward ascended the throne. 
Lord Percy was then nominated a member of the 
council of regency during the king's minority,' granted 
the custody of Skipton Castle ^ in Craven, and was made 
Warden of the marches, with an annual allowance of 
one thousand marks for furnishing and maintaining a 
garrison of one hundred men-at-arms, and the same 
number of hobelars.'^ 

Shortly after he was employed in negotiating a peace 
with Scotland, and conjointly with two other barons 
appointed governor of the maritime castles in the north. 

# * 

We are told that when Rollo, on being confirmed in 

possession of the provinces he had conquered, was 

required publicly to acknowledge the suzerainty of the 

King of France, and in token of vassalage to kiss his 

» Parliamentary Writs^ voL ii p. 180. 

• The coandl was composed of five bishops, two earls, and five barons. 

3 Ten years later Henry de Percy petitioned the king that this grant 
of Skipton might be revoked in favour of his brother-in-law, Robert 
de Clifford. 4 Fctdera^ tom. iv. p. 254. 


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^•^•^^^ foot, the rude northman seized the extended limb only 
to lay its royal owner prostrate upon his back. In 
the same spirit, though in a manner less uncouth, the 
young King Edward, when he appeared at Amiens 
before Philip the Sixth to do homage for the Duchy of 
Guienne, refused to bend the knee before a French 
prince ; and we may imagine how cordially Henry de 
Percy,' and the other English barons in the royal 
retinue, must have approved this display of independence 
on the part of their sovereign. 

It was not long before the English nation discovered 
that Queen Isabel and her ally Mortimer had only 
displaced the Spensers in order themselves to usurp the 
power which these had so offensively exercised. King 
Edward found himself held in the strictest tutelage by 
his infatuated mother and her unworthy favourite, than 
whom Galvestone himself was not more arrogant or 
extortionate ; and who, confident in his influence, made 
no attempt to conciliate the young sovereign. Having 
attained his eighteenth year, however, Edward deter- 
mined to emancipate himself from this hateful control, 
and Henry de Percy was among those who stood by him 
in the assertion of his rights, and who brought about the 

fall of, and passed sentence of death upon, the offender. 


* * 

In 1329 the king had granted to Lord Percy and his 

heirs, in consideration of a garrison to be there maintained 

for his service, the reversion of the castle, manor, and 

lands of Warkworth,' which grant on the death of John 

* According to Froissart, the king was escorted into France by a thou- 
sand horse, and his retinue comprised the " Lord Raynold Cobham, 
Wager, the Marshal of England, the Lords Percy, Mannyng, (Manny), 
and Mowbray, and more than forty other knyghtes." 

• Appendix V. For a sketch of the manorial history of Warkworth, 
see Hartshome, pp. 186 — 194, Dugdale*s Baronage^ Vol I., p. 109, and 
ArchcRologia ^liana^ Vol. IIL, p. 100, where the original extents at 
different periods will be found recorded. 


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de Clavering, three years later, was confirmed by Royal a.d^332 
Charter and by Act of Parliament.' This barony had 
in 1 1 58 been granted to Roger Fitz- Richard, to be held 
by service of one knight's fee, by King Henry the Second, 
and it remained in the family, passing from father to son, 
until, on the death without direct heirs male of John 
Fitz-Robert, the fifth in descent, who had taken the 
name of Clavering after one of his manors in Essex, 
it reverted to the crown. 

The castle had fallen an easy prey to King William 
the Lion in 1 1 73,' but in later times it more than once 
successfully resisted the assaults of Scottish invaders. It 
could not, to judge of the site and construction, have 
been capable of prolonged defence, but must always 
have, been grand and imposing from its architectural pro- 
portions, and the natural beauty of its surroundings.^ 

In Stockdale's Survey of the Northumberland Estates^ 
1586, we read that : "The Castle of Warkworth is a very 
fair and beautifuU castle, scituate in the inner warde on the 
south syde of the ryver of Cockett, ii myles west from 
the sea, envyroned in part with the said ryver of Cockett 
and in other parts with a dry moat The said castle was 
in former tymes parcell of the landes and possessions of 

* CaL Rot Claus, 8 Edw. III. m. 19. ** Iste etiam Henricus perqui- 
sivit de dono regis baroniam de Werkworth pro suo bono et crebro 
servitio." — Chronica Monasterii de Alnewyke. 

• The siege is described in the curious Chronicle of Jordan de 
Fantosme, who sa)rs : — 

•* Le chastel iert fieble, le mur et le temer, 
E Rogier, le fib Richart, un valiant chevalier, 
Uavoit eu en garde ; mes il ne I'pot garden" 

3 "They pass'd the tower of Widdrington, 
Mother of many a valiant son ; 
At Coquet Isle their beads they tell 
To the good saint who owned the cell ; 
Then did the Alne attention claim. 
And Warkworth, proud of Percy's name." 

— Marmion^ Canto il 


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A.D. John Lord Clavering, together with the mannors of 
i*7S2]J368 Newbume and Corbrigg and the Barony of Rothbury, 
holden of the king by entayle [viz.: to him and his heirs 
males, the revercion to the king and his heirs], which 
after the death of the said John Lord Clavering should 
have come to King Edward the Third, who gave the 
same to Henry, then Lord Percy, and to his heirs in fee, 
for, and in consideration of, his noble service done at the 
battell of Durham,' and in recompense of 500 markes 
annuity to him for his retinue with the said king." ■ 

The Castle forms a salient feature throughout the 
series of grim pictures of Border War during several 
centuries ; and, apart from such associations, legend and 
fiction have contributed to invest it with exceptional 
popular interest. Here again tradition proves more 
tenacious than history ; for among the throng of sight- 
seers from near and far, who love to wander among the 
picturesque ruins of Warkworth in the present day, for 
one who cares to recall the story of those grey walls or 
their ancient inmates, of siege and battle, of desperate 
assault and heroic defence, ten will probably be found to 
take a living interest in the fate of Bertram, the knightly 
recluse, whose imaginary sorrows form the subject of 
Dr. Thomas Percy's popular romance, The Hermit of 

It was probably in aid of Lord Percy's obligation to 
maintain an additional military force for the garrison of 
Warkworth that the young Ralph Neville of Raby now 
entered into an indenture to serve his future father-in-law,^ 

* A mistake ; the ^ant was made nearly twenty years before the Battle 
of Durham, or, as it is popularly called, Neville's Cross. 

• Quoted by the Rev. Charles Hartshome in his Feudal and Military 
Antiquities of Northumberland^ p. 228. A more critical history of this 
ancient Castle will be found in Mr. Bates' work on the Border Holds of 
Northumberland^ the first part of which has recently appeared in the 
Archaologia ^liana (vol xiv. p. 81). 

3 He succeeded his father as second Baron Neville of Raby in 1331, 


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for term of life with twenty men at arms whereof five a.d. 1333 
to be knights,' against all men except the king, " receiv- 
ing 100/. per annum, as also robes for himself and knights, 
and in time of war diet for himself, and gentlemen, 
and six grooms ; and hay and oats, shoes and nails, for 
fifty-nine horsemen, and horses and wages for fifty-three 
inferior servants."* 

When in this year Lord Percy concluded a peace 
with Scotland, a clause was, at his instance, inserted 
in the treaty to the effect that all Englishmen who had 
received lands in Scotland, and all Scotchmen who had 
received lands in England, should be restored to as free 
possession of these grants as if no war had intervened 
to deprive them thereof. The stipulation was strictly 
carried out on the part of the English,^ but whether 
from inability or unwillingness to enforce it, the Scots 
failed to comply with this condition. The result was that 
when Edward Baliol determined to assert his right to 
the crown of Scotland, a considerable number of powerful 
English barons, who had thus been deprived of their 
Scottish lands, at once placed their forces at his disposal ; 
and although the King of England continued to main- 
tain an outward attitude of neutrality towards his brother- 

and three years later married Lord Percy's daughter Maud. From this 
marriage descended that Lord Langdale whose daughter, three hundred 
and fifty years later (1680), married Sir Hugh Smithson, the grandfather 
of the first Duke of Northumberland. 

* This force would be equivalent to about one hundred men — a man- 
at-arms representing two horse and two foot soldiers, and a knight firom 
six to eight men, mostly mounted. 

« Alnwick MSB. By another indenture about the same date, a 
northern tenant agreed to serve Lord Percy for fifteen years, in peace 
and war, with one companion ; to have yeoman's apparel, hay, oats, 
shoes and nails for six horses, wages for six grooms and recompense for 
loss of horses in war. — ^Tate's Barony of Alnwick. 

3 Lord Percy had at once made restitution of the Douglas lands in 
Northumberland, which had been granted to him, but Ws extensive 
possessions in Galloway and Angus were not surrendered in return. 


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A.D. in-law/ and forbade the invading army to march through 

i2Ts-^s6S i^jg territories, thus oWiging them to proceed by sea, he 

was known secretly to approve of the enterprise, and 

believed even to have lent it material support 

The northern barons, however, made no attempt to 

conceal the character of their project. Official lists of 

array were promulgated, as in the case of declared war ; 

and in these we find the name of Lord Percy, who was 

required to bring into the field 146 men at arms and 260 


" Henry Percy with Edward Bailiol went 
Galoway to claime as for his heritage ; 
By shippe they went, all whole by one assent 
At Ravenspume, and landed with great corage. 
They were accompted two thousande fighting menne 
And five hundred, besides the mariners ; 
At their landing their shippes they brent right then 
And bored some and sanke at good leysurs. 
They thought themselves of good and strong powers, 
They took none hede of shippes home again 
But landeway ride for all the Scottes dain." ' 

Having thus, in unconscious imitation, probably, of an 
ancient example, burnt their ships, the small band of inva- 
ders boldly flung themselves into the heart of the country, 
in trustful reliance upon the sympathy and support of the 
population. The desperate enterprise succeeded ; and the 
19 July* crushing defeat of the Scots at Halidon Hill, in which 
Lord Percy played a prominent part,^ was followed by the 
complete submission of the enemy, the surrender of Ber- 
wick,* and other border fortresses, and the coronation of 

' King David had in 1329 married Joan, the sister of Edward III., 
then in her eighth year. " Hardyng's Chronide, 

3 He is included in the list given by Barnes of " the most famous 
barons and leaders that were with King Edward in this battle." — 
History of Edward IIL^ p. 80. This was the first occasion upon 
which a Percy and Douglas met in the field. 

4 The king made a formal entry into the town and " immediately placed 
the Lord Henry Percy as governor of his castle of Berwick, with his 
lieutenant Sir Thomas <yrey ; and the Lord Patrick Earl of Dunbar 
was joined in commission with them as wardens." — Ibid 



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Edward BalioL The English barons were restored to a.d. 1334 
their Scottish possessions, and Lord Percy was granted 
large additional territories,' by right of which he was 
summoned to Holyrood, where he appeared in BalioVs 
first parliament, to do homage as a peer of Scotland. 

When, on King Edward passing into Guienne, the 
Black Prince was appointed Regent, Percy became a 
member of his council and was subsequently employed 
in negotiating with Flanders. During a peace of what 
was then considered of long duration,' feelings of irritation 
and resentment had been growing up between England 
and France, the former indignant at the aid which 
King Philip had habitually lent to their enemies the 
Scots ; and the latter incensed and outraged at Edward 
having not only haughtily repudiated the French king^s 
claim to suzerainty over Guienne, but having himself 
asserted his right to the titular sovereignty of all France.^ 

Mutual distrust and recriminations finally culminated in 
a declaration of war ; a war which lasted, with only two 
short intervals of precarious truce, for nearly 125 years, 
and to which we may trace that antipathy between the 
two nations which gradually came to be cultivated on 
both sides as a patriotic sentiment ; which survived with 
more or less intensity for five centuries, and some 
smouldering sparks of which are hardly yet extinguished. 

» " King Baliol gave to the Lord Henry Percy of Alnwick Castle in 
Northumberland, a grant of the inheritance of the pele of Loughmaben, as 
also of Annandale and Moffatdale^ with all the knights' fees and ad vow- 
sons of churches within those valleys, in as full and ample manner as the 
Lord Thomas Ranulph, sometime Earl of Murray, ever had them." — 
Barnes, p. 82. Appendix VI. 

See also Cal. Rot Claus. 8, Edward III. m. 19.— These Scottish lands 
were valued at 1,000 marks per annimi, and Lord Percy subsequently 
transferred them to the King of England in exchange for the Castle, con- 
stablery, forest, and towns and villages of Jed worth, together with a charge 
of 500 marks per annum upon the customs of Berwick. Appendix VII. 

* Peace with France had last been concluded in 1299. 

3 King Edward had also given offence by publicly proclaiming the 
sovereignty of England on the ocean. 


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A.D. No English sovereign had ever led so numerous or 

12752J30 gQ well-equipped an army into the field as that with 
which Edward now prepared to conquer a new kingdom ; 
while France put forth its entire strength to resist and 
expel the invaders. The two hosts met at Viranfosse 
on the 22nd October. Edward counted in his retinue 
twenty-eight banners and eighty pennons, 6,000 men at 
arms, knights, and esquires, and 12,000 select archers/ 
his total force being computed at 90,000 fighting men. 
He had placed himself at the head of the centre division, 
''and had in his immediate attendance his cousin, the 
Earl of Derby, the Bishops of Lincoln and Durham, 
Lords Cobham, Percy, Rosse, Mowbray, and divers 
other that I cannot name."* 

The French army numbered 110,000 men, a great 
proportion of which was cavalry ; and among the com- 
manders there were four kings, six dukes, and 
twenty-six counts. 

"It was a great beauty to beholde the baners and 
standards wavyng in the wynde, and horses barbed, and 

knights and squyres richly armed, and it myght 

well be marveyledde howe so goodly a sight of men of 
warr, so nere together shoulde depart without batayle." ' 

So it was destined to be, however. The accustomed 
contrast between " battle's magnificently stem array " at 
early dawn, and the shades of evening as they fall upon 
the blood-stained field where lie 

" Rider and horse, friend, foe, in one red burial blent,** 

was not presented on this occasion. After confronting 
his adversary for two days and engaging in only a few 
insignificant skirmishes. King Philip, in spite of his 
superiority in numbers, determined not to risk his crown 

' Froissart, voL i. 56. » Ibid, 3 Jhid, 


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upon the issue of a single conflict ; and when the sun arose a.d. 1340 
on the third morning the English looked in vain for an 

The campaign of 1339 thus proved barren of results ; 
but it had been honourable to the English arms, and 
encouraging to the ambitious designs of the king, who had 
little difficulty in prevailing upon Parliament to furnish 
supplies for prosecuting the war in the following year. 

The French now determined practically to test the 
value of Edward's pretensions to the sovereignty of the 
seas, and, while he was preparing to embark his army at 
Harwich, fitted out a large fleet to intercept him. 

The English army set sail, escorted by all available 
war ships, including the squadron of the north under 
Sir Robert Morley ; and off" the Flemish port of Blanken- 
beghe, about ten miles to the westward of the mouth of 
the Sluys, found themselves in face of a French fleet of 
190 sail, many of a large class,' and manned by 35,000 
trained soldiers and mariners under the command of 
three famous admirals, Kirier, Bahuchel, and Barbenoir, 
the Genoese. 

Now ensued the most important naval action recorded 
in English history since, in 897, King Alfred defeated 
the Danes off the Hampshire coast.* 

The superiority was with the French,^ not only in 

* •* Praestantiores naves et grandiores quales non prius viderant" — 
Knyghton. Barnes, with his habitual exaggeration, puts the French 
fleet at 400 sail, ** whereof 200 were great vessels, well stuffed with 
Frenchmen and all manner of habiliment of war, besides Spaniards, 
Genoese, Normans, and Picards, all manned with above 40,000 men." 
— Hist of Edw. Jll.y p. 181. 

* Sir H. Nicolas is disposed to give almost equal rank to the action 
oflf Dover in 1217, when a formidable French fleet was repulsed and 
defeated with great loss by the English under Hubert de Burgh. — Hist, 
of the Royal Nat% vol I p. 178. 

3 "The Englisshmcn endured moche payne, for their enemies 
were foure agaynste one, and all good men on the sea." — Froissart, 
vol i p. 73. 

VOL. I. 81 G 

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A.D. numbers but in equipment, technical knowledge and 
i2'!S^z6S position; for whereas their fleet was mainly composed 
of heavily-armed war ships, with galleys and other vessels 
constructed for fighting, that of the English consisted in 
great part of ordinary trading ships hastily converted into 
transports, encumbered with horses and war material, 
and crowded with ladies," for whose comfort and security 
special provision had to be made. 

King Edward, who assumed the command of the 
operations and bore the admiral's flag, "placed all his 
biggest ships foremost, being well furnished with 
archers and other souldiers ; and always between two sail 
of archers he ordered one with men of arms .... And 
then he gave order to hoise up the sails, designing to 
come with a quarter wind, to get the advantage of the 
sun and wind at his back. And now both the fleets met 
fiercely together, the French joining the battle with many 
trumpets and other instruments of martial musick, and 
the English altogether giving a mighty shout, that sounded 
horribly upon the waters, the shoare being not far off; 
and at the same instant they sent a flight of deadly 
arrows from their long bows, which the French answered 
as liberally with their cross-bow shot : but the English 
arrows did most execution by far. Then the men at 
arms approached and fought with swords, spears and 
axes, hand to hand ; for on both sides they had certain 
great hooks fastened to chains, called grapling irons, to 
cast from one ship to another, which catching fast on 
the tackling, or the upper deck, they were both held 
close together .... Certainly Sir Hugh Quiriel, Sir Peter 
Bahuchel and Sir Nicolas Barbenoire, the Genoan, were 
most valiant and able captains ; for they maintained the 

' "There were in the English fleet a great number of countesses, 
ladies, knights' wives, and other gentlewomen on their way to attend 
upon the English queen then at Ghent." — Froissart. 


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fight, from before ten of the clock in the morning till a.d. 1340 
seven in the evening, for nine whole hours." ' 

" There the King of England," says another chronicler, 
" was a noble knight of his owne hande. He was in 
the flower of his youth ; in lykewise so was the Erie 
of Derby, Pembroke, Hereford, Huntyngdon, North- 
ampton and Gloucester, Sir Raynold Cobham, Sir Richard 
Stafforde, the Lord Percy, Sir Walter of Manny, Sir 
Henry of Flanders, Sir John Beauchamp .... who 
bare themselves so valyantly with some socours they 
had of Bruges, and of the country there about, that 
they obtayned the vyctorie." ' 

The defeat of the French was complete, and resulted J^"^ ^4- 
in the destruction or capture of the greater part of their 
fleet and the loss of twenty-five thousand men. The 
ordinary usages of war were not at that time, nor indeed • 
to a much later period, applied to engagements at sea. 
No prisoners were made, except of men of rank for the 
purpose of ransom ; all others who fell alive into the 
hands of the conquerors were thrown overboard. On 
this occasion even one of the French admirals was treated 
as a pirate and hanged at the yard-arm of the King of 
England's ship.^ 

The loss on the part of the English is put at four 
thousand men : a comparatively small number considering 
how fierce a hand-to-hand combat had prevailed for nine 
or ten hours ; * but the result was, as in so many other 

» Baraes, p. 182. « Froissart. 

3 Admiral Bahuchel, in retaliation, as was said, for atrocities he had 
previously committed in his attacks upon the coast of England ; but ac- 
cording to other accounts he had, like his comrade Kirier, fallen in the 
course of the action, and only his dead body was exposed to this 

* ** This batayle was right fierce and terryble, for the batayles on the sea 
are more dangerous and fiercer than the batayles by lande ; for on the 
sea there is no reculing nor fieying, there is no remedy but to fight, and 
to abide fortune, and every man to show his prowes." — Froissart, i. p. 72. 

VOL. 1. 83 G 2 

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A.D. instances, in a great measure due to the skill of the 
12752^300 Ej^giish archers, to escape from whose shafts, we are 
told numbers of the enemy leapt into the sea.* 

Fire-arms of some kind appear to have been used in 
this action, for Barnes dwells upon the superiority of 
arrows over guns, remarking quaintly that, " bullets not 
being seen only hurt where they hit" Considering the 
character of explosive weapons at that time it is quite 
credible that the long-bow would prove more destructive 
in the hands of English soldiers than fire-arms. 

King Edward's letter conveying the tidings of the 
victory is the first naval despatch on record, and may 
serve as a model of such documents ; being clear, 
concise and, although announcing an event of great 
national importance, since it established the supremacy 
of the English upon the ocean, entirely devoid of boast- 
fulness or vainglory.* 

It is certainly not the least honourable of the many 
. distinctions won by the second Lord Percy of Alnwick 
that he bore a part in this memorable action. He con- 
tinued to serve in successive campaigns in France, and 
was with the Earl of Derby, when in 1344 he raised 
the siege of Auberoche,^ and by a brilliant operation 

» It is related that King Philip's ministers and courtiers did not dare 
to inform him of this defeat, which was finally broken to him by his 
jester, who being asked why he so vehemently denounced the English as 
cowards, replied because " the faint-hearted rogues had not the courage 
to leap into the sea, so gallantly as our own Normans and gentlemen of 
France did." — Barnes, p. 185. 

^ See Barnes, p. 184; also Nicolas, vol. ii. p. 61. 

3 " Create batayle in France, in which the King of England showed 
himselfe a noble and valyant prince, as in like manner did the Earl of 
Derby and the Lord Percy and others, who showed themselves so 
valyant that they obtained the victory." — Grafton's Chronicle. 

The English garrison had been put to great straits by the formidable 
projectiles of the besiegers, who, having, on one occasion, intercepted 
a messenger sent to urge the Earl of Derby to come to their relief, 
attached the unfortunate man to one of their most powerful engines 
and shot him back into the town. 


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signally defeated the investing army under the Comte a.d. 1346 
de Lisle. 

On the eve of his embarkation for France in 1346, 
King Edward, in view of the formidable military pre- 
parations in Scotland, appointed Lord Percy to the chief 
command of the armies of the north.J He was thus 
deprived of participation in the brilliant continental cam- 
paign of that year ; but the service which he succeeded 
in rendering in his native country was of hardly less 
national importance than the crowning battle fought on 
the plains of Picardy, for no events of the fourteenth 
century more essentially contributed to paralyse the 
enemies of England than the victories of Crecy and 

Neville's Cross. 

* * 

The Scots had made the most of the opportunities 
which the wars between France and England afforded 
them for retrieving their fallen fortunes. Early in 1 340 
Sir William Douglas recovered the whole of Tiviotdale ^ / 

and the Castle of Hermitage; other provinces and / 

strongholds were freed from their English garrisons, 
and by the end of the year Stirling, Roxburgh, Edin- 
burgh and Berwick alone remained, to attest the vaunted 
suzerainty of the King of England. One by one these 
too fell into the hands of the Scots, who, not content with 
having regained their own, repeatedly crossed the border 
to carry death and devastation into the northern counties. 

While Edward's army, still flushed with the victory of August 26. 
Crecy, lay under the walls of Calais, King David in- 
vaded Northumberland with a force of 50,000 men, and 
penetrated to the walls of Durham." 

« Fxdera^ vol. v. 524. 

• " The king looked towards little Durham 

And there he well behelde, 

That the Earl Percy well armed 

With his battal axe entred the feld." 

" Durham ¥t\d:*—Anaenf English Ballads, 


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A.D. Seven years of continuous continental warfare had 

'^75lf^ severely taxed the military resources of England; and 
although the king had despatched **a choice band of 
expert souldiers/' from Calais as a reinforcement, the army 
raised by Lord Percy to meet his formidable enemy did 
not exceed 16,000 men, of whom we are told that "a 
great part were clergymen, priests, chaplains, fryers and 
the like; but . . . yet good tall trencherman, such as 
were not afraid of a crack'd crown, though they had no 
hair to hide the wound. For piety and a love of their 
country laid the foundation of their valour." ' 

So insufficient indeed did Lord Percy consider his 
forces to contend with the Scottish army that he thought 
it his duty to make an attempt at negotiation before 
coming to blows, and accordingly " despatched a herald 
unto the King David requiring him to cease from further 
invading the counties and to return into Scotland till 
some reasonable order for a finall peace might be agreed 
upon betwixt him and the king his maister, otherwise he 
should be sure to have battle to the utterance [d toutrance] 
within three daies after." ^ 

The king, confident in the strength of superior 
numbers, returned a defiant answer, and the two forces 
prepared for battle. 

The baronial houses of the north were well represented 
in Lord Percy's little army, among the leaders of which 
we find the names of Umfreville, Musgrave, Scroope 
of Masham, Neville of Raby, Mowbray, Lucy, Grey, 
Leybum de Ros, Bertram, Deyncourt, Ogle, Bellairs, 
and Rokeby. The Archbishops of Canterbury and 
York, and the Bishops of Durham and Carlisle took 
their place at the heads of the several divisions; and 

* Barnes, p. 378. With so large a clerical element in the ranks, it is 
not surprising to find a bishop associated in the command of each of 
the four divisions. " Holinshead, voL ii 384. 


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Froissart relates how at early dawn Queen Philippa a.d. 1346 
appeared upon the field to encourage the troops, and 
" went from batayle to batayle desyring them to do their 
devoyre to defende the honour of her lorde the Kynge 
of England, and in the name of God every man to be 
of good heart and corage." 

The fight was a lengthened and a desperate one ; and 
the crushing defeat inflicted upon the Scots, who not only October 17. 
saw their army annihilated or scattered, but their king 
wounded and a prisoner, was by universal assent ascribed 
to Lord Percy's skilful handling of his troops/ Many a 
still surviving northern ballad commemorates the part he 
bore in this action (in honour of which he was ever 
after called Percy of Durham),* and his prowess at the 
Battle of Neville's Cross became the popular theme of 
chroniclers and poets, one of whom thus quaintly 
eulogises his hero : 

** Inclitus Henricus Perci, partis borealis amicus 
Fit Scotis amicus constans, obstans inimicus. 
Mos girfalconis fuit illi, cor Gedeonis, 
Virtus Sampsonis, Pietas Loth, Ars Solomonis, 
Totus divinus, urbanus, ut Die Gaivynus. 

** Fit sibi dulcori, nescia fama mori. 
Se probet armavit, ct agmina fortia stravit. 
Saspe reintravit, acies fortis penetravit ; 
Scoti fugerunt, latuerunt, morte ruerunt ; 
Percy persequitur, perimit, rapit, arte potitur. 
Percy Machabaeus fuit, et Brus David Etheus. 
Percy non pigritat, se claro nomine ditat, 
lUustris miles, Titus, Hector, Brutus, Achilles. 
Hunc Deus instilles, Scotos fecit fore viles, 
Fortis Percy leo, quasi gigas, par Machabseo, 
Junctus amore Deo, necat hostes cum jubilaeo. 

' Walsingham allows to three others a share in the victory : " Qui vero 
dictam, volente Deo, fecere victoriam, fuerunt domini Willelmus de 
Zouche, Gilbertus de Umfrevyle, Henricus Percy, et Radulphus 

■ Dominus de Percy in senectute sua, scilicet apud Dunolmiara, 
in quo bello ipse fuit unus de principalibus ducibus, quando Rex 
Scotiae captus erat." — ^John of Bridlington. For various details 
relating to Lord Percy's forces in the campaign, see Appendix VII L 


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A.D. Mittit ad infemum Scotos maltos suus ictus, 

1 275-1368 Semper in seternum suus ensis sit benedictus, 

— Et benedicantur generosi Perci parentes ; 

Sed maledicantur Scoti, mala Perci volentes, 
Utens lorica fidei, probitatis amica, 
Pugnans magnifica vicit nobis inimica, 
Magnates tales debemus semper amare." ' 

The name of Percy or Piercy, as it was commonly 
spelt, appears to have been strongly provocative of a play 
upon the word, as in the above ** Percy persequitur." 
" Percy penetrativus," and '* Percy penetrans,*' occur more 
than once in the works of monkish writers, and in his 
Metrical History John of Bridlington explains the text, 

** Suspicor et clems, penetrans cognomine verus. 
Viscera Scotorum penetrabunt belligerorum/' 

to point to the commanders of the English army at Dur- 
ham: ** suspicor et clerus," meaning the Archbishop of 
York and his attendant clergy, and ** penetrans cognomine 
verus," signifying a man true to his name, Percy meaning 
one who pierces or penetrates. " 

The preposterous legend which found acceptance 
among respectable ancient historians — that the Percies 
derived their name from one of their ancestors who had 
pierced the eye of King Malcolm of Scotland at Alnwick 
in 1092 — owes its origin to this tendency to play upon 
the word, which even Shakespeare could not resist, when 
he made Falstaff indulge in the unworthy joke : ** If 
Piercy be alive. Til pierce him." 

• # 

While King David lay a prisoner in the Tower of 
London the Scots threw themselves upon the mercy of 
the conquerors for the terms of peace, and during a few 

' Wright's Political Poems. 

* ^* Suspicor et clerus/\,t, Willelmus de la Zouche et clems qui cum 
eo erat, et penetrans cognomine verus, i.e. verus homo habens cognomen 
Percy, scilicet penetrans, et ipsi penetrabunt viscera Scotorum belligero- 
rum, cum lanceis et sagittis quos in illo bello Occident." — Ibid. vol. i. 
P 158. 


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years the border counties enjoyed an immunity from a.d. 
invasion to which they had long been strangers. The '3472f3S« 
ruin which the Scots had worked was, however, too 
complete to admit of immediate repair, and in 1347 
Lord Percy appealed for assistance to Pope Clement VI.,' 
representing the hopelessly impoverished condition of 
the country, and the inability of the decayed religious 
houses to afford the accustomed relief, in consequence 
of the sacrilegious depredations, ''per manus spoliatricis 
gentis Scotorumy' over a period of forty years. 

Indeed, when we now contemplate those continuous 
raids and counter raids, undertaken with no other object 
than robbery and wanton destruction, which lasted for 
the next two centuries, we can but marvel how the 
population on either side escaped starvation. 

In 1349 Edward Baliol once more invaded Scotland 
with a force of 40,000 men, towards which Lords Percy 
and Nevill, under an indenture with Lionel, Earl of 
Ulster, then guardian of the realm, agreed each to 
provide one hundred men-at-arms and one hundred 
archers.* The forces met at Perth, when the Scots sued 
for peace, and obtained terms upon payment of ;^9,ooo. 

Towards the end of this year we find Lord Percy in 
the king's retinue at Calais.^ His last public employ- 
ment, the commission for which was dated only about 
a fortnight before his death, was the arrangement of a 27 Jan., 
code of laws for the government of Scotland, based upon '^^** 
that which had been established by King Alexander the 

* The letter was couched in the most submissive tone : " Humilis et ' r ^ 
devotus filius suus, cum omnimod^i subjectionis et devotionisi reverentia . ' v / 
humilia pedum oscula beatoi%m."-^State Papers. ' / 

* Fadera^ vol v. p. 545. The pay of the knights was fixed at 2x., of / 
the squires i^., and the archers at 4^/. a day. 

3 Rot Franc, 21 Edward III. m. 20. 

* Foidera, vol v. p. 372. 


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A.D. The second Lord of Alnwick died suddenly at Wark- 

»«75^368 ^Qrth Castle on the 17th February, 1352.' In his will* 
he had expressed the desire to be buried in Sawley 
Abbey, but this clause was probably subsequently re- 
voked, for he was the first of the Percies who found 
sepulchre in Alnwick Abbey. 

In 1 3 19 Lord Percy had married Idonea, the sister 
of Robert, second Lord Clifford ^ (he died in 1365), by 
whom he left six sons and four daughters. The second 
son, Richard, Lord of Semar, was summoned to parlia- 
ment as a baron throughout King Edward's reign. 
Thomas had been consecrated Bishop of Norwich * at 
the early age of twenty-two, and the other sons were 
well provided with lands in the north, but are all believed 
to have died without male issue.* 

Of the daughters, Margaret, the eldest, married Robert 
de Umfreville, son and heir of Gilbert, the second Earl 

« For the lands of which he died seised, see Appendix IX. 

■ Tes^a. Ebor, p. 57. September, 1349. Among other bequests he 
left fifty marks for wax candles to be burnt around his body, twenty 
shillings for 200 priests for masses (a very small allowance from so 
wealthy a testator) ; 100 marks for the poor, and 100 shillings for obla- 
tions at his funeral, together with ^^20 to the poor while on the way to 
the place of burial. There is also a legacy of ;;£^2oo for distribution 
among any who might consider themselves to have been *' unjustly de- 
prived of property " by the testator, and ten marks for masses to the 
Abbot of Fountain! 

The Priory of Alnwick seems to have been disappointed in its ex- 
pectation of a large legacy. " Hie Henricus circa finem suum, magnum 
affectum habuit dictae abbatise (Alnwick) sed heu 1 quasi modica infirmitate 
detentus in Castra de Warkworth obiit insperate et in dicta abbatia 
honorifice est sepultus." — Chronica Monasterii de Alnewyke. Lord 
Percy had been a staunch ally of Edward Baliol, who, by his death, accord- 
ing to Thomas of Bridlington, ** multum perdidit auxUium." 

3 It was this Lord Clifford's great-great-grandson, John, the seventh 
baron, who married Hotspur's daughter. 

4 He died in 1369. For his will, dated 2Sth May, 1368, see 
Appendix X. 

5 In 1358 Roger, the third son, was, with Robert Umfreville, licensed 
to proceed to the Holy Land : ** cum hominibus, cquis et harnessis 

suis."— ^^/. Pat 31 Edward IIL 


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De Vesci. 












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^ . - .yl 

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of Angus,' who died during his father's lifetime ; and, a.d. 1334 

secondly, . William, the second Lord Ferrers of Groby. 

Isabel became the wife of William de Aton, Matilda 

of Lord Neville of Raby, and Eleanor of John, seventh 

Lord Fitzwalter. 

During the life of its second Lord, Alnwick Casde 

had been greatly strengthened and improved.* He it 

was who built the two* octagonal towers forming the 

entrance into the inner baly, which he ornamented with 

escutcheons illustrative of the alliances of his family, 

and which include the armorial bearings of the Tysons, 

De Vescis, Cliffords and Arundels ; of Lancaster, 

Warren, Umfreville, Neville, and Fitzwalter. 

• • 

The old English historians and chrooiclers rarely 

indulged in personal descriptions, and in the various ^ 

records of the times we meet with nothing to enable 

us to form an idea of the physical traits of the Percies. 

The third lord of Alnwick appears, however, to have 

been remarkable, probably by contrast with the tall 

northerners, for his low stature, for he is spoken of as 

** hie parvus miles,'* and again as " vir parvae staturae." ^ 

The writer who uses the latter expression adds, by way 

of compensation, "sed fortis fidelis et gratus/' and 

further tells us that this lord was ** of so contented a 

mind that he coveted not the lands of other men, but 

remained satisfied with those he had inherited/' When 

» English earldoms were at that time so strictly representative of 
English counties, that this Umfreville's right to sit in Parliament was 
disputed on the ground that Angus was not within the kingdom 
(Dugdale) ; but the king's writ of summons by the title was allowed to 
validate the claim. The Eiarl of Angus married the sister of Anthony, Lord 
Lucy, who in her widowhood, nearly thirty years later, became the second 
wife of the first Earl of Northumberland, and who thus married her 
former husband's grand-nephew. 

« See Hartshome, p. 172. 

3 Chronica Monasterii de Alneuuyke. 


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A.D we consider the vast extent of this inheritance the merit 
'^^5lf^^ of his contentedness becomes less apparent. 

When only in his fourteenth year, Henry de Percy 
was married, or, more probably, "contracted in mar- 
riage," to the Lady Mary Plantagenet, daughter of 
Henry, Earl of Lancaster ; ' when the king, by letters 
patent, authorised the bridegroom's father to settle 
certain lands in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire upon his 
young kinswoman.' 

As in the present day we frequently see the young 
children of our sport-loving country gentlemen carrying a 
gun over moor or stubble-field, or on horseback following 
the hounds across country, so the sons of the warlike 
barons of the north were, while yet hardly out of their 
nurseries, trained to the use of arms and in martial habits 
and exercises. In early boyhood the young Percy had 
ridden by his father's side in many a skirmish with the 
Scots, and had subsequently served in his retinue in 
successive campaigns in France. He had attained his 
twenty-fifth year when he had the good fortune to 
share in the victory of Crecy,^ whence he accompanied 
the king to the siege of Calais. While so engaged 
tidings arrived of King David's formidable preparations 
of invasion ; and the young soldier hastened back to his 
native moors in time to join his father's forces under the 
walls of Durham, and to play his part in the no less 
memorable victory of Neville*s Cross, where, as we are 
told by a contemporary writer, " this small but thought- 
ful soldier, putting forward his own body to meet the 
enemy, encouraged all others to do the same." * 

* Son of Edmund, the second son of King Henry III., by his wife 
Blanche d'Artois, niece of Louis IX. of France. The marriage was 
celebrated at Tutbury castle in Staffordshire, in 1334. 

• See Appendix XI. 3 Rot Franc, 20 Edward III. i. m. 9. 

4 Dominus Henricus de Percy, ut alter Judas Machabaeus filius 
Matathiae, bonus proeliator, hie parvus miles et providus, ad occurrendum 


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Immediately after his father's death he was commis- a.d. 
sioned to arrange the terms upon which King David of ^^54^3 4 
Scotland should be permitted to return to his dominions. 
These negotiations were not concluded until 1354, when 
Lord Percy signed the treaty under which the Royal 
captive was set at liberty, in consideration of important 
cessions of territory and the payment of a fine of 90,000 

The peace involved in the restoration was, however, 
of short duration. In 1355 the Scots surprised Berwick 
and slew the greater part of its garrison, including the 
commanders, Thomas Percy,* Alexander Ogle, and 
Edward Grey. The third lord of Alnwick was in the 
following year engaged in the recapture of this strong- 
hold,3 and was henceforth continuously employed in the 
king's service as warden of the marches, conservator of 
the peace, as ambassador in Brittany and in France, and 
in the conduct of various negotiations with the Scots,* 
as well as those under which Edward Baliol finally suiren- 
dered his pretensions to the crown. In 1359 we find him 

hostibus m prima belli acie proponens corpus propriuxn, cunctos sic 
consurgere in campo confortabat." — Chronicon de Lanercost^ p. 350. 
Bannatyne Club publications, vol. 65. It is evident from the descrip- 
tion of his person that the author here refers to the third lord of 
Alnwick (who was not, however, " Dominus " at the time), and not, as 
some writers have concluded, to his father, the Commander of the army. 
In calling my attention to this passage. Lady Louisa Percy wrote, in 
affectionate remembrance of her brother ; " Do not these words apply to 
another Percy, who fought 500 years later in the valley of Inkerman ? " 

' F<edera^ vol. v. pp. 761, 787, 801. 

* Holinshed, v. 386, where this Thomas Percy is described as a 
brother of Lord Percy ; but his brother of that name was the bishop 
who survived for many years after, but there is no record of any other 
near relative of that baptismal name. 

3 The Exchequer Rolls of this period abound with entries relating 
to Lord Percy's efforts to strengthen the fortifications of Berwick. See 
Appendix XII. 

4 Among others, the surrender of the Castle of Hermitage by the 
widow of William Douglas in exchange for her two sons, who had been 
detained as hostages in England since the battle of Neville's Cross. 


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A.IX in the army of King Edward at the siege of Rheims, 
12752^368 ^^^ jj^ ^^^ following year under the walls of Paris.' 

He had lost his wife, Mary Plantagenet, in 1362, and 
two years later married Joan, the daughter and heiress 
of John de Orby, a Lincolnshire baron of ancient race 
and large possessions. By the first marriage there had 
been two sons, whose eventful lives will form the subject 
of the next chapter ; by the second, only one daughter, 
who married John, Lord de Ros of Hamelake. 

The third Lord Percy of Alnwick died in his forty- 
ninth year, seised of the manors of Lekinfield, Clathorp, 
Settle, Eggleswyk, Topcliffe, Wharram-Percy, Walton, 
Spofforth, Nafferton, Semar, Tadcaster, and Pocklington 
in Yorkshire ; of the castles and manors of Alnwick and 
Warkworth, with their twenty dependent towns and vil- 
lages, and the manors of Chatton and Harbotel, in North- 
umberland ; of the manors of Petworth, Sutton, Duncton, 
and Haystede, with the advowson of the Church of Pet- 
worth, in Sussex ; as also of several manors in Lincolnshire, 
Norfolk and Suffolk, and numerous houses and tenements 
in York, Newcastle, and London. These large territorial 
possessions were held from the crown tn capite for service 
of one hundred and twenty-eight knights' fees." 

If a less conspicuous figure in the historical picture of 
his time than some of his ancestors, the character of the 
third lord of Alnwick leaves an agreeable and grateful 
impression as that of a brave, loyal, and modest gentle- 
man, animated by a strong sense of duty and of justice, 
and who, to quote the words applied to another English 
worthy,^ was ** ever of honest behaviour and good repu- 
tation ; favouring the virtuous, pleasuring many, and 
hurting none." 
♦ ♦ 

« Holinshed, ii. p. 672. 

* Inquis. Post Afort, 42 Edw. IIL For the munificent dower of his 
widow, see Rot. Claus. 42 Edw. III. 3 Sir John Norris. 


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The Percies had by this time become numerous in a.d. 
their county, and their names are of frequent occurrence ^^^S^^a 
in the public records connected with the restoration, 
growth, and progress of the city of York, from the time 
of its destruction by fire during the Northumbrian 
revolt of 1069/ 

The old cathedral, which dated from the beginning of 
the eighth century, had then suffered severely, and what 
remained of it was levelled to the ground by a wide- 
spreading conflagration in 11 37. It was not until nearly 
fifty years later that steps were taken to rebuild it, and 
during the two centuries that elapsed before the com- 
pletion of the work successive generations of Percies 
were among the most munificent contributors to York 
Minster. Conspicuous among them was Robert, son of 
Walter de Percy, Lord of Rugemont,' who had placed his 
forest of Bolton at the entire disposal of the archbishop 
for the supply of whatever timber might be required for 
the structure as long as he lived ; while at the same 
time Robert de Vavasour had furnished the stone from 
his quarries at Tadcaster. 

"In memory of these two extraordinary benefactions," 
says Drake, **the Church thought fit to erect two 
statues, one represented with a rough unhewn stone in 
his hand, the other with a sirtiilitude of a piece of 
wrought timber." 3 

The example thus set them by their ancestors was 

« It was never restored to its fonner greatness, for though the state- 
ment in Polychronkon that " the buildings of York under the Saxon 
kings might have vied in beauty and magnificence with those of Rome " 
is an exaggeration, it was undoubtedly not only the most important 
commercial port, but by far the most extensive, largely populated, and 
the handsomest city in England. 

• See ante^ p. 24. 

3 Eboracum^ p. 484. These statues remained on their original sites 
until the beginning of the present century, when having become much 
defaced and mutilated they were replaced by modem copies. 


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A.D. piously followed by successive generations of Percies, — 
1^752^3 whose names, male and female, are of regular occurrence 
down to this period in the documents recording the 
patrons and benefactors of the Cathedral, and whose 
arms, carved in stone, or emblazoned on glass, are to 
be met with throughout the building/ 

» In the great window of the northern aisle we find, side by side, the 
full length figures in coats armorial of Percy and Clifford See Drake's 
EboracuMy p. 527. Other memorials will be mentioned in their proper 
place during the progress of these annals. 


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Bom at Alnwick Castle, 1342. 

Succeeded as Fourth Lord Percy of Alnwick, 1368. 

Created Earl of Northumberland, 1377. 

Fell at Bramham Moor, 17th February, 1408. 

English Sovereigns. 

Edward III. 

Richard II. ace, 1377 

Henry IV. „ 1399 


HE life of the fourth Lord of Alnwick 
was cast in eventful and tumultuous 
times. In his nursery he may have 
heard the shouts of triumph resounding 
through the courts and halls of the old 
northern castle on the glad tidings of 
the victories at Crecy and NevilFs Cross ; and from those 
days down to his fall at Bramham Moor sixty-one years 
later, England had been, with but few short and broken 
intervals, continually at war. In France, in Spain, and 
in Flanders; in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, English 
soldiers had steadily maintained the honour of their 
country; and wherever the clash of arms was heard 
a Percy was certain to be in the thick of the fight. 
VOL. L 97 H 


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A.D. Thus cradled in war, and trained, amid incessant local 
'34^40 feuds, to hold by force that which his ancestors had 
won, the future Earl of Northumberland began as he 
ended life, with his hand on the hilt of his s;?vord. 
He had, it is true, been much employed in civil 
duties under three successive sovereigns ; he had 
served at Court and in Parliament, and been engaged 
in negotiating international treaties, royal marriages, 
and political alliances. But his diplomacy was essentially 
an armed one : the argument he best loved was a brave 
retinue of mounted lances ; and the glitter of the coat of 
mail was ever visible beneath the silk and gold of the 
courtier's robes. 

The ambition of the third Edward, practically to 
justify his assumption of "the vain title of King of 
France," ' was gratified by his subjects at the sacrifice 
of much blood and treasure. Unjust, unprofitable, and 
impolitic as were those wasteful wars of conquest, they 
yet served to kindle into a flame the military spirit of 
the nation, and to make the people at large direct and 
willing participators in the royal schemes of aggression 
and acquisition. Hitherto the masses had counted for 
little or nothing in public affairs. The crown and its 
feudatory lords had, according to their requirements, 
exacted the services of vassals, or the money of citizens, 
for the prosecution of wars as to the objects or the results 
of which the contributors were not consulted or allowed 
to be concerned." 

* Hume. 

• "Sometimes they acted with, sometimes without, the previous 
consent of Parliament. Occasionally they issued letters to their 
military tenants soliciting their services as a favour ; on other occasions 
they summoned them undei* penalties." — Lingard. 


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The strain now put upon the resources of England a.d. 
demanded such exceptional sacrifices, however, as could '34^35 
only be insured by the enlistment of universal sympathy 
and co-operation; and so brilliant had been our 
successes on the Continent, to such a height had our 
military reputation been raised by a long series of 
victories, that there was little difficulty in infecting all 
classes with the ambition of the sovereign, and with 
the warlike spirit of the feudal aristocracy. This 
new-born sense of individual interest and participa- 
tion in a common national cause engendered a wide- 
spread consciousness of personal power and, with it, 
increased self-reliance and self-respect. The yeoman 
who had freely ventured life and limb in the service of 
his lord, thought the better of himself and of his order 
for having materially contributed to the conquests and 
triumphs which had raised England in the scale of 
nations; and the peaceful citizen, who had as freely 
yielded up the hard-earned fruits of his industry, felt 
that his sacrifices entitled him to share in those triumphs, 
and therefore to aspire to a higher degree of political 
influence and social consideration than he had hitherto 

Nor was the national progress at this time limited to 
military achievements and foreign conquests. A period 
of war is necessarily unfavourable to the development 
of civil institutions or the healthy growth of public 
opinion. Yet it was during Edward's long reign, under 
which the country was barely at peace for any two 
successive years, that the English Commons laid the 
foundation of their power, and that the English 
Church first raised its voice against the corruptions of 

The Lord of Alnwick would indeed have been in 
advance of his century had he been capable of appre- 

99 H 2 

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AD. ciating at its full value the import of these two move- 
1342-140 n^^nts ; it does none the less redound to his honour 
that he, then perhaps the most powerful subject of the 
English crown, was among the few of his order who 
espoused the cause of popular liberty and of reformed 
religion, while these were yet feeble and unbefriended ; 
and that the protecting arm of the great northern Baron 
should have been extended over Peter de la Mere 
in Parliament, as over John Wyclif in St. Paul's 

The young Percy could not have *^ fleshed his maiden 
sword " under more brilliant auspices than on that mem- 
orable autumn morning, when King John of France led 
the flower of his chivalry against the Black Prince and 
his small band of Englishmen,' hastily intrenched on 
'^i^q?^ ' the slopes of Maupertuis, only to recoil again and again 
before their indomitable front, and finally to yield his 
sword to the invader. It was a splendid lesson in the 
art of war ; but a lesson yet more noble was taught the 
young soldier by the spectacle of the victorious prince, 
still hot with the fight and flushed with triumph, stand- 
ing bareheaded before his royal captive, and attending 
him at table with all the deference he would have shown 
to his own sovereign and father. 

We have seen how by high alliances, by good service, 
and yet more by a reputation for unsullied honour and 

' Froissart estimates the French force engaged in the Battle of Poitiers 
at 40,000 against less than 10,000 Englishmen. Another contemporary 
writer, arrives at about the same result when he puts the " coats of 
arms " under the French king at 8,000, and those under the Black 
Prince at 1,000. 


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devotion to duty, the Percies had attained a fore- a.d. 
most place among the feudal lords of England, and '21 
an almost royal supremacy in the northern counties. 
The times were exceptionally favourable to the young 
heir of the house for consolidating and strengthening this 
position by military achievements, and by the cultivation 
of those martial virtues and graces which under the 
name of chivalry had begun to infuse a more gentle and 
generous influence into the hostile intercourse of the 
order of knighthood, even though it failed to mitigate the 
barbarity of general warfare. He proved an apt pupil ; 
wherever he served he displayed the dauntless courage 
of his race, together with considerable military skill. He 
was possessed of that " noble port " ' and commanding 
presence then considered a necessary attribute of rank 
and power. More than one contemporary writer refers 
to his courteous and winning manners, and if we may 
trust to the authenticity of his portraits, he must have 
been a strikingly handsome man.' 

John of Gaunt (so miscalled after his birthplace,^ 
Ghent or Gant), the third son of King Edward, was but 
two years oWer than Henry Percy ; and a boyish 
intimacy, based upon similarity of tastes, had sprung 

* Hardyng in his Chronicle says of Lord Percy and his son Hotspur 
that they were : 

" Knightly men in wars both occupied ; 
Beyond the seas great worshippe had they wonne 
In many a realm, full greetly magnified 
For martial act^s by them multiplied, 
The whiche were long here to reporte. 
But in their time they were of noble porte." 

» See the beautifully illuminated Metrical History of King Richard's 
Deposition in the British Museum, where he is repeatedly represented. 

3 According to the custom then prevalent in our royal family. Thus 
his son was known as Henry of Bolingbrokej and Edward's grandson 
and successor as Richard of Bordeaux. 


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Google ' 


A.D. Up between the two cousins,' which in after life ripened 
'342-1408 jj^^Q ^ strong though fitful and capricious friendship, 
and ultimately brought about portentous national results. 
The young Percy served under his father* when in 1359 
Edward III. carried an army of 100,000 men into the 
heart of France. Continental expeditions upon this scale 
necessitated far greater preparations than had sufficed for 
the wars with Scotland and Ireland, and contemporary 
writers record the great attention then paid to the minutest 
details of military economy and administration. The 
troops were transported in 1,100 vessels, each of which 
carried small boats constructed of leather, " cunninglye 
made and devysed, able to receeve three men apeace 
and to passe them over water and rivers. They had at 
the least 6,000 cartes, and for every carte four horses 
which they had out of England."' Each division of 
the army carried with them tents, pavilions, mills, ovens, 
and forges, according to a fixed scale proportioned to 
the numbers embarked, with a complement of masons, 
carpenters, and other mechanics and artificers. 

■ John of Gaunt and Henry Percy were descended, the one through 
the male, the other through^the female, line, from a common ancestor, 
Henry III. They were further allied by the marriage of Prince John of 
Lancaster with the Lady Blanche Plantagenet, a first cousin of Henry 
Percy, as shown in this table : — 

King Hrnrt III. 

f I 

Edward I sEkanor of Castile. Edm. Plantagciiet=BIanche d'ArtoU. 

- 1 ; ' 

Edward JI.=Isabel of Fnuice. Henry, 3rd Earl of LancattersMaud Cbawoith. 

i i 

Edward Ill.ssPhilippa of Henrft tt DukesDao. of lA. Mary Plantageoetss^ Lord Percy 

I Hainault. of Lancaster. | B eaumont I of Alnwick. 

I Hainault. of Lancaster. | 

Edward the BlackssDau. of Earl John, and Duke^Blaliche Henry, 4th 'Lord=T>au. of Lord 
Pr*nce. | of Rent. of Lancaster. | Planta- Percy of Alnwick. I Nevtll of Raby. 

genet. I 

Richard IL, bom 1366. Henry IV., bom 1366. Hotspur, bora 13^ 

• See History of Edward I 11.^ by Joshua Barnes, 1688. 
3 Froissart. 


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On the conclusion of this campaign Henry Percy re- a.d. 
turned to the north of England to assume the warden- ^359-^3^7 
ship of the marches towards Scotland and, although only 
in his eighteenth year, to marry a wife.' This lady Octr.,i3S9. 
was Margaret, the daughter of Lord Nevill of Raby, 
whose brother was subsequently created Earl of West- 

He now found ample occupation for his active mind 
and restless sword in the duties of local administration, 
in restraining his unruly people, repelling tlie aggression 
of his turbulent neighbours across the border, or in lead- 
ing retaliatory raids into their territory. In 1363-64,' he 
was with John of Gaunt fighting in France, and three 
years later, together with his brother Thomas, joined the 
expedition against Castile. 

King Peter the Cruel had been deposed and expelled 
the country by his half brother Henry; and, as the 
French had joined the usurper, the Black Prince was 
easily prevailed upon to take part in the quarrel, and to 
carry an army into Spain for the purpose of restoring to 
his throne the most worthless of sovereigns. He ac- 
cordingly started from Bordeaux with 1 7,000 men who', 
after much privation and suffering from the severity of \ ; 
the weather during a winter march lasting nearly three 
months, found themselves near the village of Navarera,^ ^ ^ 

« The lands settled upon him by his father on the occasion of this 
marriage are recited in the Ccdend, RotiUarum Chartarutn^ 31 Edw. III. 

■ A truce had been established with France under the provisions of 
the treaty of Bretigny in 1360, but the dukedoms of Navarre and Brittany 
were excluded from its operation, and wars had continued to be waged 
in those provinces. 

3 *• La place ou home combati 
Estoit sur un bel palme joly 
Ou il n'eust arbre ne buysson, 
D'une grant long environ 
Silonc un beal riv^re." — 

Life oftJu Black Prince^ by Chandos Herald, v. 4010. 


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A.D. confronted by a greatly superior army of French and 
1342-1408 Spanish troops occupying a strong position and com- 
manded by the brave and chivalrous Du Guesclin. 
^ 3 April, The Black Prince, accustomed to victory against 

'3^7- overwhelming odds, did not hesitate to lead forward his 
wearied and enfeebled troops, and by his first onslaught 
broke the ranks of the enemy. The battle lasted 
several hours and resulted in a complete and decisive 
victory for the English. The allies were routed with 
enormous loss/ and Du Guesclin, after performing 
prodigies of valour, was wounded and taken prisoner. 

Don Pedro had entered into a formal engagement to 
pay and provision the English troops employed on this 
service ; ' but no sooner had these accomplished their 
purpose and restored him to his throne, than he 
repudiated his obligations. In the meanwhile the un- 
healthiness of the climate had produced great mortality 
in the English army ; and after some unavailing efforts 
to induce the Spanish king to perform his promises, our 
prince carried back the remnant of his victorious but 
starving and discontented army, bearing within himself 
the seeds of that fatal fever ^ which embittered his 
remaining days, and brought the hope and pride of 
England to an untimely grave. 

' According to Hume the allied army numbered 100,000 and their 
loss in the battle is estimated at 20,000, whereas the English lost only 
fifty men. Walsingham puts the loss of the allies at 7,000 exclusive of the 
wounded and the large number of fugitives who were drowned in the 
river which for miles ran red with blood ; " In tantum ut unda appareret 
rubra vel sanguinea per spatium milliarii, prae numerositate vulnera- 
torum*." — Hist AngL i. p. 305. 

^ The text of this Convention is given in Fcedera (voL vi. 512), where 
there is also an entry (p. 557) of a reward to a retainer of the Black 
Prince for having brought to England the horse ridden in the battle of 
/ Navaret^ by Don Henrico. 

3 " Et la c'est bien certaine 
Si commen9a la maladie 
Que puis dura toute sa vie." 

— Chandos Herald. 

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The refusal of the King of Spain to defray the cost of a.d. 
the expedition compelled the Black Prince on his return '^ lll^ ^ 
to his principality to raise the funds required for the pay- 
ment of the troops by imposing upon the inhabitants of 
the French provinces under his rule a new and oppressive 
tax called the fouage or hearth tax, which gave rise to 
universal discontent, and finally led to an appeal to the 
King of France. Louis, rejoiced at the opportunity of 
striking a blow at English influence, denied the right of 
the prince to levy taxes on French soil, and summoned 
him to appear in Paris to answer for his conduct. ** Je 
viendrai, mais le bassinet sur la t6te et soixante mille 
hommes dans ma compagnie,'' was his defiant reply. 
From this hour, however, dates the decline of English 
power in France. The long-forgotten battle of Nava- 
relA ' was the last and not the least brilliant of the many 
victories achieved by our Black Prince. 

The attitude assumed by King Louis was met by the 
formal re-assumption on the part of Edward the Third 
of the title of King of France, and early in 1369 war 
was once more declared between the two countries. 

Lord Percy, as he is henceforth to be called,' and his 
brother Sir Thomas, joined the expeditionary force ^ now 
sent against France, and were with the Duke of Lancaster 
on his defiant military promenade across the country from 
the Channel to the Mediterranean. The march occupied 
four months, during which the French carefully abstaiflfed 
from giving battle; but by hanging upon the flanks and rear 
of the invading force, cutting off stragglers and convoys, 

' Sometimes called Najara, after the river running through the village. 

* He did homage in the twenty-sixth year of his age, when he had 
livery of his lands. — Exchequer Rolls^ 42nd Edw. III. 

3 The following entry occurs in the Issue Rolls of the Lord High 
Treasurer in 44th Edw. HI. "To Lord de Percy for wages for himself, 
sixty men-at-arms, and forty servants going with him in the king's 
service to France, ;;^96o.** 


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1342-1408 laying waste the country wherever the enemy advanced, 
and preparing ambuscades, they inflicted a greater loss 
upon the English than half a dozen general engagements 
might have occasioned.' 

Sir Thomas Percy had by this time gained a high 
reputation. He seems to have possessed all his elder 
brother s warlike spirit and military accomplishments 
with a more politic temper and greater intellectual 
culture.' He had long been the friend and trusted 
adviser of the brave Chandos ; and Froissart, who 
knew him personally, and rarely mentions him without 
praise, has left a graphic picture of the last meeting 
between the rising young soldier and King Edward's 
veteran general, who, having so nobly contributed to 
England's most brilliant victories on French soil, was 
now destined to lose his life in a nameless skirmish. 

The scene is laid in the neighbourhood of Poitou, and 
the date is towards the end of 1370. 

"Then Sir John Chandos went into a house, and 
caused to be made a good fyre ; and there was still with 

' John of Gaunt, — now by the death of his father-in-law (who fell a 
victim to the plague in 1362) — Duke of Lancaster, had planned this 
campaign, the effect of which was flattering to the national pride as an 
exhibition of English strength and power, but produced no noticeable 
result beyond arousing the hatred of the French people at seeing beautiful 
and fertile districts laid waste, and an unarmed population outraged and 
ruined. The cost of the expedition was enormous, and our losses in the 
material of war were great According to Stow, " The Duke of Lancaster 
brought scantlie forty horses back with him ; it was commonlie talked 
he had lost 30,000 horses in that unluckie voyage." — Annals. 

* The Pope had conferred upon him the degree of a Bachelor of 
Arts, then a much coveted distinction (Leland's Collectanea, II. 352) ; 
and in a small folio MS. in possession of Emmanuel College, entitled 
"The Foundation of Cambridge University" (161 7), we read that 
"Aubrey de Vere, Earl of Oxford, Thomas Percie, Earl of Worcester, 
and Humfrey Plantagenet, sumamed the Good Duke of Gloucester, 
were, circa 1396, the principal benefactors to the Logick'e Schooles, 
sometimes called the Divinitie Schooles and Librarie, on the east side 
of King's College." 


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him Sir Thomas Percy, Seneschal of Rochelle, and his a.d. 
company, who said to Sir John Chandos : Sir, is it your 'il^ 
intent to tarry here all this day ? Yea, truly Sir, quoth he, 
why demand you ? Sir, the cause L ask you is, since you 
will not stir this day, that you will give me leave, and I 
will ride some way with my company, to see if I can 
find any adventure. Go your way in the name of God, 
quoth Sir John ; and so departed Sir Thomas Percy, with 
thirty speares in his company, and took the long way that 
led to Poitou, and Sir John Chandos abode still behind." 

Percy was not long in meeting the adventure 
of which he went in search, for before he had ridden 
far he came in sight of a considerable body of French 
troops bent probably upon a similar errand. 

•* Behold, he said, yonder Frenchmen be a grete 
number against us, therefore let us take the advantage 
of the bridge .... and so they ranged themselves in 
good order to defend the bridge." 

In the meantime Sir John Chandos, having scented 
the presence of an enemy, had set forth by an opposite 
road to that taken by Percy, which brought him upon 
the rear of the French detachment, who now turned to 
meet him. From the nature of the ground, however, the 
two English captains who thus held the Frenchmen in 
front and rear, were ignorant of one another's presence 
for ** Sir Thomas Percy who was on the other side of 
the bridge knew nothinge, for the bridge was high in 
the middle, so that none could see other." 

Chandos, greatly outnumbered in the hand-to-hand 
conflict which ensued, fell mortally wounded, while Percy 
remaining on the other side of the river, in ignorance of 
the fight raging within a few hundred yards of him, and 
finally believing that the enemy had retired, " departed 
with his company and took the way to Poitou, as they 
knew nothing of that business." 


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A.D. The Governorship of Poitou now vacant by the death 

1342-1408 ^f ^YiQ brave old Chandos was conferred upon Thomas 

Percy, with emoluments fixed by letters patent under 

the hand of the Prince of Wales dated at Taunay, 

Charente, 5 November 1370/ 

'* For the good services rendered by his dear cousin 
Thomas de Percy, Seneschal of Poitou, and in satisfaction 
of 100 marks due to him (yearly) for life, the prince 
gives to him for life, in case the Sieur de Reys should 
become the prince s enemy, and rebel, the lands, rents, etc. 
of the said Sieur, in the prince s principality of Aquitaine, 
which may be worth 1,000 livres yearly; doing homage 
and other duties to the prince. In case this do not hap- 
pen, the prince assigns to his said cousin the said sum 
of 100 marks out of the revenue of the lands confiscated 
by rebellion in the prince's country of Poitou, wherever 
his said cousin can find them^ which lands are to be put 
in his hands till the 100 marks be paid, provided they 
have not heretofore been given to others of the prince's 

Thomas Percy would appear to have been selected or 
to have volunteered for the execution of any service 
requiring exceptional daring. Thus the castle of Mont- 
contour having, as the English complained, "traueyled 
them more than any other garrison being marvellous 
strong and fayre," and being held by a picked body of 3000 
French troops, he advanced upon it with 500 lances and 
2000 foot, and after a short investment carried it by 
assault "with so good order that by clene force they 
pearced the walls and entered in and conquered the 
Frenchmen." * Shortly after he successfully assaulted St. 
Severe, which the French had surprised and taken some 
time before, on which occasion his cousin. Sir William 

« Exchequer Queen's Remembrancer^ MiscelL Army W ii, 
* Froissart 


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Percy,' together with Sir Richard Golfe and Sir a.d. w 
Richard Home, "all captaynes too good to be lost,"' i37o-i37S y 
were killed. 

He was less fortunate in the attempt to relieve Soubise, 
where he was wounded and taken prisoner in a sortie led 
by the Welsh soldier-priest Owen. For his ransom the 
Prince of Wales surrendered to the French the castle of 
Levroux,^ whereupon by letters patent dated at Poitiers, 
2nd October, 1374, John, Due de Berry and d'Auvergne 
and Count of Poitou, pardoned and released " Messire 
Thomas de Pressy (su), Knight, subject of the King of 
England and prisoner of the King of France (having 
been delivered to the said Prince John in whose faith 
he is) of his said imprisonment and faith which he owes 
to the prince." * 

While his brother was thus doing good service on 
the Continent, Lord Percy had been as actively en- 
gfaged in his own country. A drunken brawl during 
the Fair annually held at Roxburgh,^ and which was 
always largely attended by the people from over the 
bordfer, had in 1370 led to an indiscriminate attack upon 
the Scotch there assembled, in the course of which 
many, and among these some immediate servants or 
tenants of Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March, were slain. 
Failing to receive the redress which he demanded at 
Lord Percys hands, the earl invaded England with a 

» A son of William de Percy of Kirk Levingstone, with whom that 
branch would appear to have become extinct. 

« Froissart 

3 Froissart. According to Walsingham it was Castellmn de Liziniaco, 
which Dugdale renders Umosin, but which appears to be Lisieux in 

♦ Eouheqtur Queeris Remembrancer^ MiscelL Army || i. Appendix. 

5 Lord Percy had been made Governor of Berwick and Roxburgh on 
coming of age, but subsequently resigned the Wardenship of the latter 
Castle to his brother. 


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A.D. large force, ravaged the country around Carlisle, and 
13422^40 returned carrying with him some hundreds of English 
prisoners, and great booty in horses and cattle. A 
series of retaliatory raids ensued on both sides ; and 
finally Lord Percy raised a numerous and well-equipped 
army, of which a large proportion were mounted men, 
and entering Scotland — 

** With sevin thousand of nobill men and wycht, 
He came till Duns and thair he baid all nycht" ' 

A fatal night for him, for here it was that his fine army 
was completely routed by the simple device of a few 
Scottish shepherds who, taking advantage of the 
darkness, succeeded by means of the rude instruments 
used by them to frighten the deer and wild cattle oflf 
their pastures, in making so deafening and unearthly a 
noise as produced a stampede among the horses, and a 
panic among the troops in the English camp. The 
former breaking loose from their fastenings, scampered 
wildly over the country, while soldiers, who would have 
met any number of visible enemies with undaunted 
front, fled headlong before the imaginary danger of 
supernatural agency. 

" Sone be the flouries in the dew did fleit, 
And leit the Persie pas hame on his feit, 
For all his host, with mekle lak and schame, 
And far les honour na he come fram hame." * 

Early in the following year Lord Percy once more 
crossed the Channel, having in his personal retinue 
twelve knights, forty-seven squires, and one hundred 
and sixty mounted archers and men at arms.^ His son 

» The Buik of Croniclis of Scotland^ vol. iii. p. 396 ; a metrical version 
of the history of Hector Boece, containing full and very quaintly ex- 
pressed descriptions of wars and border raids extending over eight 
centuries. There is also a detailed account of this expedition in 
Holinshead's Chronicles of Scotland^ and in Buchanan's Rerum ScoHcorum 
Historian lib. ix. p. 41. « Metrical Chronicles, 

3 Exchequer Rolls^ Army, 45 Edw. III. 


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Henr>% then in his ninth year, accompanied him in the a.d. 
capacity of a page. By this time the greater part of the ^^^S^^S? 
English provinces on French territory were in open 
revolt. The Black Prince, prostrated by disease, and 
his spirit broken by repeated reverses, had returned to 
England, leaving the Duke of Lancaster to act as 
governor of Gascony and captain-general of Aquitaine. 
John of Gaunt however lacked both the good fortune 
and the military capacity of his elder brother, and was 
besides personally much disliked by the French. 

The populations whom a series of brilliant successes 
and the display of invincible power had reconciled to 
alien rule, were disposed to resume their natural alle- 
giance as soon as victory ceased to smile upon our 
legions. The English army had met with a severe 
defeat in Brittany at the hands of Du Guesclin, and 
the fleet in which Sir Thomas Percy was serving under 
the Earl of Pembroke was all but annihilated off *3 June, 
Rochelle, by the Spanish Admiral Cabeja de la Baca. ^^^ ' 
It was looked upon as an evil omen, when the King of 
England, having embarked for Calais in order to take 
the personal command of his forces, was tossed about for 
weeks by adverse winds, and finally compelled to aban- 
don the attempt to reach the French coast. After some 
desultory fighting a truce between the two countries was 
once more patched up. 

Lord Percy only returned from France to meet 
the enemy on his own soil, a Scottish force having 
attacked Roxburgh and burnt the town after a whole- 
sale massacre of the inhabitants. He retaliated by 
an invasion in which he utterly devastated the lands 
of Sir John Gordon, who, in his turn, again crossed the 
border to burn and slay with relentless ferocity. 

There is a sad monotony in the descriptions of these 
miserable feuds, and but little difference between Scotch 


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A.D. and English in the barbarous method of warfare pursued. 
1342-1408 Q^ ^Yie one side we are told— 

" They spairit nother man nor wyfc, 
Young or old of mankind that buir lyfe ; 
Like wilde wolfis in: furiositie, 
Bayth brint and slewe with grete cnidelitie ; " 

while on the other — 

**So boldin were the bernis that war bald 
That same they spairit nother young nor aid ; 
Man or W3rfe, ether in felde or firthe, 
Was nane that tyme that gat mercie or girth ; " ' 

The Chieftains who might have been expected to use 
their influence to restrain the excesses of their followers 
appear to have been either unwilling or unable to 
prevent the repeated acts of individual outrage and 
violence which generally led to these disastrous raids. 

Lord Percy, it is true, addressed frequent remon- 
strances to the Scottish nobles, while in his turn the 
Earl of March complains — 

"To make redress alls far as they had failed, 
Recht oft the Percie so he lias assailed — 
Askend redress of all was done befome. 
And he againe no answer got but scome 
With great derision, each day more and more ; " » 

but on neither side can we trace any serious effort to 
repress outrage, and even the Kings of England and 
Scotland when they appealed to one another for redress, 
proved disposed rather to justify than to rebuke the 
lawlessness of their subjects on the borders. 

In the meantime the reverses sustained by our arms 
on the Continent, and the loss of territory which had been 
acquired at the cost of much blood and treasure, had pro- 
duced great irritation among the people of England. The 
heavy taxation necessitated by the wastefulness of the 

» Metrical Chronicles, » Jbid, 


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king and his favourites embittered the prevailing dis- a,d. 
content, and when in 1376 **the good Parliament*' was 
required to vote a further subsidy, " the knyghttes of the 
shy re (ynspyred so it is thought by the Holy Ghoste) after 
dyligent delyberacion in the matter, refused to answer 
to such petitions without the counsell of the Nobles." ' 

Four bishops were accordingly named to assist the 
Commons, and these in their turn claimed the co- 
operation of four barons '* which should entyrely love the 
kyngdome and his maiestyes dygnytye ; with whose 
favour they might be backed and defended if any 
sought to wrong them, and by them be more in- 
coraged stoutlye to prosecute any matter that should 
be brought to passe for the safetye of the kyngdome, 
and his maiestyes bodye and soule, yea, although he 
should take .the same in evyl parte. The knyghtes/ 
assentingjbur lordes without whose consent they neyther 
cold nor wold make any ainser in so weightye a matter *' 
were elected ; these were Henry de Percy, Richard de 
Stafford, Guy de Bryan, and Henry de Beauchamps, 
and to this council of twelve four earls were ulti- 
mately added.* — Hr-v^ 

The firm attitude assumed by the Commons was in- 
tended as a demonstration against the Duke of Lancaster, 
whose influence at Court was now paramount. There is 
nothing to explain the motives which induced Lord Percy 
to join the popular league against his old friend and ally. 
One of Lancaster's partisans ^ contends that he did so in the 

< This and the further quotations on the same subject are from 
a curious manuscript Chronicle preserved in the British Museum, and 
published in Archctologia^ vol. xxiL It is the work of a contemporaiy 
writer, and bears internal evidence of authority and truthfulness. 

• The Peers (Les Grandz) at this time already sat apart from the 
Commons ; their meetings being held in Westminster Hall, while the 
Commons assembled at the Chapter House. 

3 Godwin, in his Lift cf Chaucer^ which contains a ** Memoir of 
Lancaster" highly coloured in his favour. 

VOL. I. 113 I 

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A.D. Duke s interest, but this is belied by the active part he 
^342-1400 ^qq]^ Jj^ support of the agitation against the Court* 

Lancaster angrily resented the pretensions of the 
Commons to control the action of the King. "What 
do these base and unnoble knyghtes attempt.*^" he 
asked of Percy. ** Do they thynke they be kynges or 
princes of the lande.*^*' It was only when his cousin 
convinced him that his resistance would be futile, if not 
perilous to himself, that the Duke was induced to forego 
further opposition, and ultimately even to consent to . 
the removal from Court of Lord Latimer and other of 
the king's obnoxious counsellors. Indeed it appears to 
have been entirely due to Percy s influence that Lan- 
caster " contraye to all expectacion showed himselfe 
so favorable and so mylde that he drew them all into 
admiration." * 
June 8, When a few months later the death of the Black 

1376. Prince and the declining health of the king placed 
Lancaster's star once more in the ascendant, he lost 
no time in revenging himself upon the " base and 
unnoble knyghtes " who had presumed to thwart his 
policy, and, but for Lord Percy's intercession,^ Peter de 
la Mere, the first Speaker of the Commons,* would have 
paid with his life for the boldness of his language. 

* Holinshead says that at first Lord Percy showed " a buroing desyre 
to apprehend the traytours of the realme ; " adding, " Wold to God he 
had continued the same unto the ende I " The meaning of this qualify- 
ing phrase seems to refer to the Wyclif incident in the following year. 

» Holinshead. 

3 "Nisi Dominus de Percy ducem suis inimicis impedisset" — 

4 Peter de la Mere had acted as the spokesman of the council of 
twelve in the Good Parliament, and did not actually become Speaker 
of the Commons until the opening of the following Parliament (October 
13th, 1377), when, for the first time, they elected a member to preside 
over their deliberations and "pour avoir la parole de par la com- 
munity." — See J^olls of Parliament, ist Rich. IL In succeeding 
parliaments the Commons were formally required at the commence- 


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Richard was now heir to the throne, and between this a.d. 
boy and his uncle, who had already put forward his ^il 
claims as the next heir, there stood Roger Mortimer, 
Earl of March, then Lord Marshal of England, whose 
military services and personal character had made him 
eminently popular in the country. Virtually wielding 
the royal power at this time, Lancaster determined 
to have the crown settled upon his heirs male (to 
the exclusion of the heirs of Lionel, his elder brother) 
in case of Richard's decease without issue ; and 
with this object in view thought it expedient to rid 
himself of the presence of a formidable rival. He 
accordingly obtained the king's order for the Earl of 
March to proceed to Calais on pretext of that strong- 
hold requiring to be placed in better defence. " But 
the erle, as he was a man of good wit, considered 
that it was a dangerous tyme — he chose therefore rather 
to lose the rod than his life wherefore he restored the 
rod of the marshalshippe ; ^' which was at once conferred 
upon Lord Percy, who ** by this meanes was joyned to 
the duke, but incurred as much hatred of the whole 
commonalty as he had gotten favor and love of the 
duke." ' 

In this year Lord Percy granted the hospital of St 
Leonard's to the abbot and convent of Alnwick,' and 
the abbot in return gave a magnificent banquet in 
honour of his patron, when 120 nobles, 86 superior 
gentry, and 1,020 of the people were entertained with 

ment of each session to elect a Speaker to act as their direct medium 
of communication with the other House. 

» StoVs Annals, According to Canon Stubbs, Henry Percy had 
been previously induced, "probably by the promise of the marshal's 
staff, to join the duke's party." — Const Hist 

* Rot Chart: 50 Edw. III. 

115 I 2 

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A.D. lavish hospitality.' Shortly after Lord Percy was 
1342-140 nominated to the chief command of the English forces 
in France, and embarked for Calais with a personal 
retinue of 400 men-at-arms and mounted archers. He 
soon returned to England, however, to take part in 
another and, to him, novel description of warfare. 

As early as in 1365 Pope Urban V. had demanded 
payment of the tribute which a century and a half 
before King John had conceded to be his due, but 
which, since the early years of the reign of Edward III. 
had been permitted to lapse. It was an unfavourable 
moment for pressing such claims, for never was the 
English nation less disposed to acknowledge papal 
pretensions than now.' John Wyclif had followed up his 
denunciations of the practices of the priesthood in his 
I^ast Days of the Church (published as early as in 1356)* 
by a protest against certain fundamental doctrines of the 
faith ; and Chaucer in his humorous exposure of the tricks 
of the Sompnours and Pardoners who, like pedlars, 
travelled about the country with packs of indulgences, 
dispensations and benisons/ only gave expression and 
point to the prevalent feeling throughout large classes 
of the laity. A poet enjoying the favour of the 
sovereign,' the personal friendship of the great, and 

* Chron, Monast, de Alnwyke, 

* The influence of Rome had not indeed, down to this period, been so 
powerful as it became in after times. The Conqueror had refused 
fealty to Gregory VI L, and his immediate successors could not be 
induced to acknowledge the pope's temporal sovereignty. King John's 
slavish submission to Rome had offended the popular sentiment and 
been repudiated by the barons. 

3 This work was dedicated to John of Gaunt, who to the last remained 
the poet's patron. 

* ** His wallet laye before him in his lappe 

Brimful of pardons come from Rome all hote." 

— Canterbury Tales. 

s Edward III. had employed Chaucer on several important diplomatic 
missions, including an embassy to Genoa in 1370. Richard confirmed 


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a wide- spread popularity among the masses was not a.d. 
likely to fall an easy victim to ecclesiastic persecution; '37j;j377 
but the indifference with which the Church might pass 
over the irreverent pleasantries of Chaucer could hardly 
be extended to the earnest and laboured heresies pro- 
pounded by a member of the priesthood. The pope 
now issued a bull empowering the Archbishop of 
Canterbury and the Bishop of London to act as his 
delegates for the trial of "Johannes Wiclif, Haereticus," 
who was summoned to appear before his judges in 
St Paul's, early in the following year.' 

It requires no vivid imagination to conjure up a 
picture of the scene in and around the old cathedral. 
The judges supported by the papal Nuncio, the 
English Bishops, and a number of ** Dukes, Earls, and ^ 
Barons, that were there to hear the trial,*' are seated i 
behind the high altar in our Lady s Chapel. All 
available space in the building is thronged with spec- 
tators, while without, a dense and motley crowd of 
citizens so blocks the way that the armed authority of 
the Earl Marshal is employed to enable the accused to 
gain access to the building." 

Now all eyes are turned upon the bold priest who has 
dared to cast defiance at the Pope of Rome ; a small, 

the pensions and emoluments allowed him during hLs grandfather's reign, 
and granted him a pipe of wine annually from the royal cellars. This is 
probably the origin of the still existing grant of a butt of sherry to the 
poet laureate. In Chaucer's case, however, this contribution was 
subsequently commuted into a money payment of ;^i3 6s, 8^., as appears 
from an entry in Fotdera. 

» In his Life of Wyclif (1719), Mr. Lewis places these events in the 
reign of Richard ; the trial actually began on 19th February. 

• • " There being a vast concourse of people about the Church, Dr. 
Wiclif could not get through the crowd to the place where the Court 
sat, upon which the Earl Marshal going first made use of his authority 
to disperse the people and make way for him ; but notwithstanding, 
such was the greatness of the throng, that it was not without great 
difficulty that the two Lords and Dr. Wiclif could pass through it." 
^Life of Wyclif by John Lewis, M.A. 17 19. 

I*' 7 

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A.D. fragile man, with a careworn, pale face, and quick, deep- 
1342^408 gg^ eyes. He carries in his hand a black-bound volume 
-^his only weapon of defence against his formidable 
judges. As he advances up the aisle and stands facing 
the tribunal, he bears himself with the humility becom- 
ing a Christian priest, and the calm resolution of a 
Christian martyr. Yet the idea of martyrdom is dis- 
pelled by the aspect of his supporters, for by his side 
appear the commanding forms of Lancaster and Percy, 
in brilliant and martial attire, " Bishop Courtenay * 
not being well pleased to see Dr. Wiclif so honourably 
attended." • 

The reading of the indictment occupies some time, 
during which the accused stands facing his judges ; 
whereupon "the Earl Marshal, out of tenderness for 
Dr. Wiclif, and having but little regard to a Court 
which owed all its authority to a foreign power, bid 
him sit down, telling him he had many things to answer 
to and therefore had need of a soft seat to rest him 
upon during so tedious an attendance." ^ 

But now the Bishop's patience is exhausted, and he 
says : " Lord Percy, if I could have known that you 
would have played the master here, I should have 
prevented your coming.** 

Lancastir: "Ay, but he shall play the master here 
for all of you." 

Bishop : "It is unreasonable that a clergyman cited 
before his ordinary (the Lord Pope) should sit down 
during his answer. He shall stand." 

Lancaster : " My Lord Percy is in the right, and for 
you, my Lord Bishop, you have grown so proud and 

» Although Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury was by right of his 
rank the presiding judge, the Bishop of London took the leading 
part throughout these proceedings. 

• Lewis. 3 Jbid. 


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arrogant, I will take care to humble your pride, and that a.d. 
of all the prelates in England. Thou dependest upon ^^ 
' the credit of thy relations, but, far from being able to 
help thee, they shall have enough to do to support them- 

Bishop .• " I place no confidence in my relations, or in 
any man else, but in God alone, who will give me the 
boldness to speak the truth." 

Lancaster (softly to Lord Percy) .• *' Rather than take 
this at the Bishop's hands, I will drag him by the hair of 
his head out of the Church." ' 

It must be allowed that the dignified bearing 
attributed to the bishop forms a grateful contrast to the 
bluster of his princely opponent, but as the contemporary 
accounts of these proceedings that have come down to 
us are by the hands of Wyclif's opponents,' we may 
justly suspect them to be strongly tinged with the 
odium theologicum. In all probability the intem- 
perate language ascribed to Lancaster is as much 
exaggerated as the Christian-like humility of the bishop,^ 
who was certainly not noted for the moderation of his 
temper, and who, in his subsequent proceedings, dis- 
played little forbearance or scrupulousness. 

The London citizens, then by no means animated by 
religious bigotry or personal reverence towards Church- 
men, and accustomed to allow great license to their 
princes and nobles, were not likely to have been moved 
to fury by Lancaster's language to the Bishop, or by his 
avowed championship of the religious reformer. But 
there were other means by which their sympathies might 

* Lewis. 

* Most of these and many of the succeeding writers derived their facts 
from Walsingham, who could hardly fail to take a strong part against the 
heretic and his supporters. 

3 Fuller in his Church History speaks of " the Duke and the Byshopes 
revyling one another." 


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A.D. be enlisted. "The liberties of the City in danger" 
1342-1408 ^^g ^ ^j.y ^j^gy yfQxj\^ never disregard ; and this cry 

(though it is impossible to trace any just grounds for the 
suspicions it implied) the bishop, or his more zealous 
agents, now raised with an effect greatly exceeding his 
intentions. Lancaster was accused of a design of usurp- 
ing the civic authority of London, and of placing the city 
under the rule of the Earl Marshal. The rumour was no 
sooner spread than the populace rose in uncontrollable 
anger. Smarting under a sense of wounded dignity the 
bishop had hoped to humble the arrogance of his ad- 
versaries, but he had not contemplated their murder. 
When, alarmed at the violence of the passions he had 
aroused and at the consequences which the excesses of 
the citizens would entail he endeavoured to allay the 
storm, his voice had lost its power. 

With the capaciousness which generally marks the 
temper of excitable masses when suddenly urged to 
violent action, the turbulent Londoners now directed their 
fury at least as much against Percy, who had hitherto 
been one of their idols, as against Lancaster, whom they 
had never loved. They attacked and ransacked his 
house in Aldersgate Street,* tore down his arms, and 

■ According to the old topographists Percy House stood on the west 
side of Aldersgate Street, on the site of the present Bull and Mouth 
Inn ; but Maitland, in his exhaustive History of London^ makes mention 
of two city mansions belonging to the family ; one being " near the west 
end of Aldersgate Street in Bull and Mouth Street," and another " lower 
down on the west side of the Martin's Inn in the Parish of St Anne 
almost by Aldersgate," which is described as " one great house, com- 
monly called Northumberland House. It belonged to Henry Percy." 
On the attainder of the first earl, Henry IV. granted this mansion to his 
queen, and it was then called the Queen's Wardrobe. The other 
house probably belonged to Sir Thomas Percy, for after his death at 
Shrewsbury, the king granted ** the Earl of Worcester's house in Bishops- 
gate Street" to the Scottish Earl of March. — Fcsdera^ viiL 243. 
Hot^ur owned a house in Wood Street, near the Goldsmith's Hall, 
where we are told he entertained Ring Richard and the Duke of 
Lancaster at supper. 


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slew an unfortunate priest whom in their blind rage they a.d. 
mistook for the obnoxious lord in disguise. Finding 'il^ 
out their error, and learning that the duke and the Lord 
Marshal had gone to dine at the house of John of Ypres/ 
at Ypres Inn, in St. Thomas Apostle, they proceeded 
thither. The intended victims, in complete ignorance of 
the storm raging without, had not yet sat down to table, 
but, according to a custom since revived, were whetting 
their appetites for the coming banquet by an ante-prandial 
course of oysters,* when one of Percy's retainers rushed 
in to warn them of the approaching mob. Hurriedly 
escaping by a back-door, they reached the river side and 
took boat for Lambeth. 

The last days of the old king, who lay, much suffering, 
at his palace at Sheen, were disturbed by the recriminatory 
charges arising out of these events, but the influence 
of Lancaster now prevailed over all other considerations. 
The Bishop of London thought himself fortunate to 
escape with an offensive reprimand and a threat of 
deprivation. The city was heavily mulcted to compen- 
sate for the damage done to the residences of the duke 
and Lord Percy ; the Lord Mayor, Staple, was displaced 
in favour of a nominee of Lancaster's,^ and the municipal 
authorities were removed from office, and compelled to 
form a penitential procession to St. Paul's, there to place 
a huge wax candle emblazoned with the Lancaster arms 

« A wealthy London merchant and a confidential friend of Edward 
IIL, who appointed him one of his executors. See Nicholl's Royal 
Wills, He claimed to be a direct descendant of the William 6f Ypres 
who came over from the Low Countries to the aid of King Stephen 
against the Empress Maud iif 1139, was created Earl of Kent, and was 
subsequently attainted and banished. 

« " Eranty quum entravit miles ^ circumstantes ostreas,^* — Walsingham. 

3 Sir Nicholas Brember, afterwards one of King Richard's evil coun- 
sellors, and who was sentenced to death by "the wonder-working 
parliament " of 1388. 


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A.D. before the image of the Virgin, and to keep it burning 
1342-140 2^j |.|^^ ^Qg^ q£ |.j^^ ^j^y fQj. j^j^ indefinite period.' 

These severe measures were accompanied by a 
threat of placing the city under military control in 
the event of any further disturbances ; but, although 
Lancaster continued to be viewed with distrust, Percy 
soon regained his popularity among the Londoners, and 
on the death of the king in the following June, the 
ceremonies attending Richard's accession afforded an 
opportunity for complete reconciliation with both. 

Holinshead relates how, during the royal progress to 
the Tower on the day preceding the coronation of the 
boy king, "the said Duke and the Lord Percy riding 
on great horses before King Richard, as by virtue of 
their office, to make way before, used themselves 
courtiouslye, modestlye, and pleasantlye ; that wherefore 
they two, who were greatly suspected of the common 
people by reason of their great puissance in the realme 
and huge route of retayners, they ordered the matter 
so that neyther this daye, nor the morrow after, being 
the daye of the kings coronation, they offended any 
manner of person ; but rather by gentle and sweet 
demeanour they reclaymed the hartes of manie of 
whom before they were greatly held in suspycine and 
thought evill of." * 

Immediately after the coronation Lord Percy was 
created Earl of Northumberland by investiture of the 
sword (per cincturam gladii). The patent under which 

« The deposed mayor and aldermen submitted to this sentence, 
but the citizens refused to take part in the procession. 

* Holinshead is mainly indebted to Walsingham {Hist, AngL i. 331) 
for these and other details relating to Richard's coronation, on which 
occasion, he informs us, the water conduits throughout the route were 
running with wine for three hours, while " from a Tower in the upper 
ende of Cheape four virgins of stature and age like the kynge stood 
up and blew leves of gold into his face." 


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the dignity was conferred is a curiously- worded docu- a.d. 
ment, commencing with a dissertation on the privilege '£L^ 
and policy of royalty in surrounding itself with powerful 
nobles, whose presence adds lustre to the crown even as 
the stars add brightness to the heavens.' The only 
pecuniary grant attached to the earldom by this instru- 
ment is a charge of j^20 per annum on the revenues of 
the county of Northumberland ; * but all lands already 
possessed by the earl were to be considered part and 
parcel of the new dignity.^ 

Henry Percy at the same time became one of the 
Council of Regency appointed to conduct the Government 
during the king s minority, and thereupon resigned, in 
favour of the Earl of Arundel, the office of lord marshal, 
on the plea of the manifold and arduous duties now devolv- 
ing upon him.* Nor was this a vain pretext, for few names 
appear more frequently in the records of the period in 
connection with the public service. For many successive 
years he acted assiduously as one of the " tryers of 
petytions," upon whom devolved a great part of the work 
in parliament,* and it would be a wearisome task to 

» See Appendix XIIL 

• Under King Stephen each English earldom was endowed with the 
third penny of the revenues of the county which it represented. At this 
rate the public income of the county of Northumberland would at this 
date have amounted to ;^4,8oo per annum. 

3 Three other earls were created at the same time, viz. : Thomas of 
Woodstock, Lord Guiscard d'Angoulesme, and Lord Mowbraie, under 
the titles of Buckingham, Huntingdon, and Nottingham. The House 
of Peers under Richard's first parliament consisted (exclusive of the 
royal princes) of one duke, thirteen earls, forty-seven barons, and twelve 
judges and privy councillors, Northumberland's first summons to this 
parliament was not addressed to him under his new title, but as " Henry 
de Percy, Mariscallo Angliae." 

4 " Asserens se non posse propriis commode rebus prseesse et tanttt 
gravitatis officio." — ^Walsingham. One of his duties in this year was 
the leading of an army of 10,000 men into Scotland, when the lands 
of the Earl of March were devastated in retaliation for the attack upon 
Roxburgh in the previous year. 

5 Powerful as were the great feudal lords of England, it is noteworthy 


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A.D. recount the number of times that he was employed in 
1342-1400 negotiating treaties of precarious peace and hollow truces 
with Scotland. In his judicial capacity, and in the 
administration of the local laws, civil, criminal, and 
commercial, which fell to him by right of his chief 
wardenship of the marches, and governorship of fortified 
towns in the north, he attained a high reputation for 
^ impartiality and moderation. He was one of the " special 

judges," by whom Lord Gom cixg s and Sir William de 9 
Weston elected to be tried upon the charge of having, ^ 
contrary to their duty, surrendered to the enemy certain 
castles in France; and in 1383 he was appointed chief 
commissioner for negotiating the ransom still due by 
David Bruce. Independently of his duties as general 
and admiral, he figures throughout the greater part of 
Richard's reign as ambassador, legislator, statesman, 
courtier, and confidential adviser. 

The state of the Borders alone furnished full occupa- 
tion to the northern chieftains, upon whom the re- 
sponsibility for the defence of their frontiers was imposed," 
whose action was, however, not unfrequently very 
mischievously impeded by court intrigues or political 
combinations among the king's relations or favourites, 
A striking instance of such interference in the case 
of the Earl of Northumberland will be hereafter 
referred to. 

Sir Thomas Percy had been as actively, and almost 

bow ready parliament was to enteruin and minutely to investigate all 
complaints preferred against them by such of their dependents as con- 
sidered themselves aggrieved or oppressed The Rolls of Parliament 
abound in records of these petitions, but in the course of twenty years 
only one complaint occurs against the Earl of Northumberland. This 
is dated in 1388, the petitioner being one William Heron, a Northumber- 
land man, who alleged an infraction of the terms of a lease that 
he held. 

« Appendix XIV. 


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as variously, employed as his elder brother. During a.d. 
the first five years of Richard's reign we find him named '377^379 
on no less than seven occasions to act as commissioner 
or conservator of the peace in Scotland, and thrice as 
ambassador in France," while he at the same time held 
the Governorship of Roxburgh ' and of Brest.^ 

It was at sea, however, that he principally distinguished 
himself at this period. 

In 1377, while convoying a merchant fleet in the 
Channel, he fell in with fifty Spanish and Flemish ships. 
As England was then at peace with Spain he required 
the Flemings to withdraw and separate from their allies, 
and on their refusal to do so, attacked and utterly 
defeated both. 

In the following year he was appointed Admiral of the 
Fleet north of the Thames, in which capacity he was 
authorised " to arrest all mariners from London Bridge 
to Southampton for the king's service, and to punish 
by imprisonment or castigation all who refused.*** In 
1379 he was advanced to the post of Admiral of the 
North,' in which capacity he attempted to carry an English 
army to the relief of the Duke of Brittany, but, being 
prevented from landing by the large fleet of galleys col- 
lected by the French on the coast, his forces " turned 
ageyn to Calais, and riden by lande thorw France, where 
they brent and killed without any resistance."^ Some 

' Most of these appointments will be found recorded in Fadera. 

* Appendix XV. 

3 The Issue Rolls contain an entry directing the collector of Hull "to 
pay Thomas de Percy his wages as Governor of Brest." 

* Rot Franc, 2 Rich. II. m. ii. 

5 John de Radington, Prior of the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, 
was at the same time made Admiral of the West, and between them 
they were required to bring ** 300 men-at-arms, knights, and esquires, 
each of whom shall have a valet to attend him, and 300 men of arms, 
of whom 100 shall be crossbows, and 400 archers." — From Sir William 
Le Neve's MS. Fenes, T. Astle, Arm. foL 15. , 

* Capgrave's Chronicle, 


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A.D. months later^ however, he effected the junction with the 

X342--140 Duke of Brittany,' and having, conjointly with Sir Henry 

^ ' CalveWey, been made " Chief Admiral of the Seas,* they 

/ took many shippes, and caused grete plente of all manner 

/ merchandise in this land."^ 

^he noble story of our naval warfare records no 
exploits more gallant than some of those by which 
Thomas Percy and Hugh Calve/ley struggled to 
maintain English supremacy on tne ocean. A fleet 
fitted out in aid of our ally the Duke of Brittany in 
1379 was for some time delayed in the Southampton 
waters by contrary winds. One of the squadrons was 
commanded by the licentious and luxurious Sir John 
Arundel,* whose crews, unchecked by discipline, and as 
little accustomed, it would appear, to moral restraint 
as their chief, committed many atrocities on the English 
coast, and before putting to sea carried on board their 
ships the inmates of a neighbouring convent. A terrific 
gale which ensued, and in which Arundel with twenty- 
five ships and above one thousand sailors was lost,* was 

'See Appendix XVI. 
r ^i *'^'" • By an indenture dated 22nd Feby. 3 Rich. II., under which Sir 
: 'A ^ ^ Thomas de Percy and Hugh de Calvely (Calve/ley) bind themselves to 

\ K\ ' "^ serve the king as joint admirals of a navy of xx shippes, xx barges, and 
'. -' XX ... . with seven himdred and xx men-at-arms, and 725 ardiers, 

f r* ' and 140 crossbow-men. — Le Neve's MS. Penes^ foL 13^. 
^ '3 Capgrave's Chronicle. 

* Properly Fitzalan, a younger son of the Earl of Arundel, but who, in 
accordance with a custom common enough in those days, assumed the 
titular instead of the family name. 

* If ever the sins of men called for the retaliatory interposition of a 
superior Power, they had done so in this instance, for when the storm 
broke out the sailors, in order to lighten their decks, remorselessly 
flung overboard the imfortunate nuns whom they had abducted. Arundel 
had on board his ship ** two-and-fifty new sutes of apparel of cloth of 
golden tissue, all of which, together with his horses and geldings, 
amounting in all to the value of ten thousand marks, was lost at sea." 
— Holinshead. See also Strutf s R^al Antiquities^ where Arundel's 
wardrobe, and the fact of Richard having possessed a coat valued at 30,000 
marks, are quoted as striking instances of the growing luxury of the time. 


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attributed by contemporary writers to this act of a.d. 
sacrilege* Unfortunately for this argument, however, ^^ 
the rest of the English fleet, as well as the French, 
Spanish and Portuguese fleets, who had done nothing 
to merit punishment, suffered in an equal degree. 
Only seven out of eighty of Calve^ley's ships succeeded 
in reaching land ; and Sir Thomas Percy's fleet was 
so completely dispersed that he was left solitary and 
disabled, drifting helplessly in his vessel, when he 
was suddenly attacked by a large and heavily armed 

The monkish writer, to whose annals history is deeply 
indebted for a knowledge of the events of this period, 
has presented us with a graphic picture of the fight 
which now ensued, " The Spanish ships," says Stow, 
*' were to ours like as castles to cottages," and Percy's 
rudderless vessel, which now required all the efforts of a 
crew worn out with hunger, sleeplessness, and hard 
work to keep her afloat, must have appeared an easy 
prey to the enemy who now swooped down upon her. 
But nothing was farther from the thoughts of the 
English admiral than to decline the unequal conflict. 
Exhorting his men to expend their last remaining 
strength upon the enemy, and, if they failed, to die an 
honourable death,' he attached himself by chains and 
grappling-irons to his formidable assailant, and gave the 
order to board. 

After a desperate hand-to-hand combat of three hours' 17 Nov. 
duration, Percy took the ship, carried her into port, and 
there pledged her for ;^ioo, which he distributed among 
the crew in compensation for the loss of their equipment 
during the storm.' 

' "Si victoria negaretur, vitam honeste finirc" — Walsingham, ^isf. 
Angl, i. p. 426. 
« Grafton. 1 


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A.D. Gradually the small remnant of his fleet collected at 

'342-I40 Brest, whence "having repaired the damage done by 
storms, he set out again with only one great ship, two 
barks, and some other smaller vessels, and meeting fifty 
ships laden with French goods he set upon them alto- 
gether, inasmuch as they, being terrified with his valour 
supposing he had more ships behind, made but small 
resistance, so that he took twenty of them, and returned 
home with that success as exceeded all expectation." * 

In the same year he inflicted a crushing defeat on the 
French fleet off" St. Malo, when, we are told, their 
commander, Bertrand du Guesclin, who like Thomas 
Percy was indiscriminately employed as admiral and 
general, vied with our ally the Duke of Brittany in his 
laudation of the valour of English sailors. 

Lancaster had continued to intrigue for the establish- 
ment of his son's title to the English crown, and although 
his alleged " right by blood " * was almost universallj^ re- 
jected, he persisted in his claim against that of Roger, 
Earl of March,^ who, as the grandson of Richard's gc^t 
uncle the Duke of Clarence, had been acknowledged as 
heir apparent. The Earl of Northumberland did not 
support Lancaster's pretensions, and there were already 

* Grafton. 

* The grounds of Lancaster's claims are thus recited by a contem- 
porary writer : " The Duke of Lancaster axed and desired that his sone 
shold by the parliament have be declared and demyd as next heir to the 
Crowne ; but the Earl of March withsaide it, and saide he was son of 
Sir Lionel the second son of King Edward ; and the Duke said the King 
Harry HI. had ij sones, Edmimd and Edward, the which Edmimde 
hadde a croked bak, and was a myssbape and an unlyk." — From the 
English Chronicle of the Reigns of Richard IL and Henry /K, published 
by the Camden Society in 1855. 

3 The founder of thw family was. Roger de Mortimer (the notorious 
paramour of Queen Isabella), who was attainted and executed in 133 1. 


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symptoms of a smouldering mistrust on the one side and a.d. 
of resentment on the other, which a few years later '^ 
blazed forth into open enmity and mutual defiance. 

It is now time to introduce upon the scene another 
Percy who was destined to win world-wide renown as a 
soldier, and to play an important part in history. Henry, 
the eldest of the three sons ' of the first Earl of North- 
umberland, by his first wife, and better known under the 
nom de guerre of Hotspur, was born at Alnwick Castle 
on 20th May, 1366.' 

His ^ndson Roger was restored as third Earl of March in 1361, and 
mamed a daughter of the Earl of Salisbury, leaving one son : 

Edmund. 4th Earl = Philippa. daughter and heiress of 
(died 1382) I Lionel, Duke of Clarence. 

r i ^ 

Roger, 5th Earl s Dau. of Edmund s Dau. of Owen Elizabeth as Henry 

of March. Pro- " "' ' -^i— j -- 

Earl of Glendower. 



claimed heir 
•Dparent to the 
Throne. Fell in 
Ireland in 1399. 

» Edmund, 6th Eari of March, Henry, and Earl of Northumberland, 

d. without issue in 1434. b. 1393, d. 1455. 

» The reputations of the two younger sons, Thomas and Ralph, were 
thrown into the shade by the fame of their elder brother, but they had 
both done admirably good service wherever an enemy of England was 
to be encountered. Both fell victims to war, Thomas succumbing to 
fever during Lancaster's last campaign in Castile, and Ralph falling in 
battle in the Holy Land. It was Thomas Percy of whom Froissart relates 
that while engaged under Henry of Lancaster in fighting ** the pagans 
and idolaters " in Prutzenland (i.e. the Baltic Provinces), and hearing of 
a probable engagement between the kings of England and France in the 
neighbourhood of Artois, he was so eager to take part in the fray that, 
leaving his retinue and baggage to follow as they might, he performed the 
journey which under ordinary circumstances would have occupied forty 
days in fourteen : " Such goodwill and gallantry," says the chronicler, 
" deserve much praise." 

• Different dates have been assigned to Hotspur's birth, some writers 
placing it as early as 1360 ; but the year is fixed on his own authority in 
the evidence given by him in the Scrope and Grosvetwr trial in 1386, 
when he stated that he was twenty years of age and had borne arms 
since the attack of Berwick in 1378. His father in giving his evidence 
in the same case in the following year, cited his age as forty-five. The 

VOL. L 129 K 

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A.D. Hardy ng, who in his fifteenth year had entered 

13422^40 Hotspur's service as a page, and had remained by his 

side until he fell on the field of Shrewsbury, gives us this 

spirited account of the training of a young noble of the 

fourteenth century: — 

•* And as Lordes sonnes bene sette at four yere age, 
To scole at lemt the doctrine of lettrure, 
And aft' at six to have them in language, 
And sit at mete semely in alle nurture ; 
At ten to twelve, to revel in their cure 
To dance and sing, and speake of gentlenesse ; 
At fourteen yere they shall to felde I sure, 
At hunt the dere, and catch an hardynesse. 
At sixteen yere, to werry and to wage, 
To juste and ryde, and castells to assayle 
To scarmyse als', and make sykure scurage 
And set his watch for peryl noctumayle." 

" And every day his armure to assaye 
In feate of armes with som^ of his meyne, 
His might to preve, and what that he doe may 
If that he were in such a jupertee 
Of werre befalle ; that by necessity 
He myght algates with wapyns him defende ; 
Thus would he leme in his priority 
His wappyns alle in arm^s to dispende." ' 

But the young Percy had anticipated the periods here 
fixed for the progressive stages in military education. 

precise origin of Hany Percy's famous sobriquet cannot be traced. 
According to the Metrical Chronicle: 

" For his sharpe quicknesse and speed inesse at need 
Henry Hotspur he was called in very dede." 

The French writers commonly called him ^^ Chaudkpron^'* ^^ainsi 
nommki' says Froissart, **4 cause de son humeur violente et emportie'* 
Walsingham speaks of him as "Juvenis in quo totius probitatis et 
militiae specimen elucebat ; • • • et revera perante, dum fuisset custos 
villa Berewici, gentem omnino inquietam, id est, Scotos, quiescere com- 
pulit, et sua alacri inquietudine multotiens fatigavit Ob quam causam, 
illorum lingua ipsum Henricum * Hatspore ' vocaverunt, quod ' calidum 
calcar' son2X*' {Hist. AnglAl 144). Holinshead, in his Chronicles of 
Scotland, says he received the name **from his so often pricking, as one 
that seldom time rested when there was any service to be done about" 
Buchanan says : " Cognomento Plexippus, uti erat ingenio feroxJ* 

* Hardyng's Chronicle, from the Lansdowne MSS. No. 200, fol. 12. 


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He had heard the clash of arms in his cradle, and had a.d. 
witnessed the pomp and circumstance, if not the fierce- ^il 
ness, of war, when in his ninth year he served in his 
father's retinue in France. He had barely attained his 
twelfth birthday when he was knighted (at Richard's 
coronation), and shortly after had learnt not only 
** castelles to assayle,** but to capture them. 

In the autumn of 1378 a band of Scottish mar- 
auders/ under John Hogg and Alexander Ramsay, ^ 
had, on a dark night, surprised and gained possession of 
Berwick — that everlasting bone of contention between the 
two countries — and massacred a great part of the garrison, 
with their chief Sir Robert Boynton, the Deputy- 
Governor of the castle. The Earl of Northumberland 
at once proceeded to recapture the stronghold under his 
charge, and after a siege of nine days the Scots having 
refused to surrender, permitted his son to lead the 
assault,' and to claim the honour of the victory which 
ensued. In revenge for the death of Hogg and his 
followers, all of whom were put to the sword as 
common felons, for having in breach of the covenants of 
the truce and without the authority of their sovereign, 
committed murder, arson, and robbery,^ a body of Scots 
again invaded Northumberland, committing such excep- 
tional acts of barbarity that the Earl of Northumberland 
determined to carry the war into the heart of the enemy's 

* According to the Northern Registers the party consisted of **xliiij. 
Scotch latrones." 

« " Qui primo tunc suutn i^exillum displicuitJ* — Walsingham. The 
Earl of Douglas had advanced to raise the siege, but, being met by a 
superior force, retired. It was in pursuing him that Sir Henry Musgrave 
fell into an ambush and was taken prisoner with 150 of his followers. 

3 ** Quo facto precepit interficere praedictum Johannum cum 
omnibus sociis suis, et capita eorum fecit ponere super Castellum." 
— Northern Registers. The Warden of the Scottish Marches disavowed 
their action, and assured the Earl of Northumberland that so far from 
the capture of Berwick having been authorised, he would, if necessary, 
himself " help to recover it to the King of England's use." — Holinshead. 

131 K 2 

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A.D. country, and to demand reparation in Edinburgh at the 
1342-1408 jjj^j^jg Qf ^jjg i^jj^g j^ person. To this end he had called 

a levy en masse, and, having collected a powerful army 
was on his march for the Border, when he received a 
peremptory order from the king to abstain from hos- 
tilities.' The Northerners smarting under the atrocities 
recently committed within their territories, urged their 
chief to disregard a command which they, justly enough 
^ as it proved, attributed to some unworthy personal 
motive on the part of the king's advisers. The Earl, 
however, refused to be guilty of an act of direct 
disobedience. He halted his army, sending at the 
same time a somewhat angry remonstrance to the king, 
requiring to be informed for what cause he had been 
ordered to sheath the sword at a moment so favourable 
for successful invasion. Richard returned a conciliatory 
answer, desiring that the enterprise should be suspended 
until after the next " March Day," ' when it was usual for 
Scotch and English commissioners to meet in every year 
on neutral ground for the adjustment of their differences. 
Shortly after it was notified that an army was being raised 
which Lancaster would lead into the north to co-operate 
in an invasion of Scotland on a large scale, in the event 
of full redress not having been afforded in the interim, 
and by these means to secure a peace upon such terms 
as would finally put an end to these destructive raids. 

» *• The Scots had invaded Cumberland and Westmoreland, killing all 
they met and miserably laying waste to the whole county .... they 
came to Penrith on a market day, and killing many of the people, put 
the rest to flight and spoiled the town .... the Earl of Northumber- 
land would have pursued them, but the king would not suffer him 
though he had lost 1,000 marks by the fury and rapine of the invaders." 
—Historical MS. Account of the City of Carlisle, by the Rev. Hugh 
Todd, Prebendary of Carlisle. 

• " Quiblande, mox accepto responso, et Diem Marchiae, quem annis 
singulis Angli simul tenent et Scoti, expectare jussus, recessit, nihil 
acturus usque ad diem praefinitum." — Walsingham, Hist Angl, I 438. 

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The Northerners, however, soon had reason to regret a.d. 
the assistance furnished by Lancaster ; who, instead of ^^ 
carrying the war into the enemy's country, entered 
into negotiations, and in the meantime allowed his 
soldiery to waste and ravage the provinces they had 
come to protect, and to make such extortionate demands 
for their subsistence that complaints were formally sent 
to the king with a request for the speedy removal of 
allies, whose presence was represented as more de- 
structive than Scottish irruptions.* 

After some months passed in inactivity Lancaster, 
always more successful in negotiation than in warfare, 
proceeded in person to the Scottish court, where he 
concluded a peace upon terms so unjustly and palpably 
favourable to the enemy, that the northern lords refused 
to be bound by the treaty. 

The Duke's attitude throughout these proceedings 
was calculated to create mistrust He had been sus- 
pected of an attempt to win favour with the Scots 
when he prevented Northumberland's invasion. The 
abject conditions to which he now agreed confirmed these 
suspicions ; while other circumstances made it evident that 
the main object of his expedition had been the conclusion 
of a secret and intimate alliance with the Scottish king. 
Richard appears to have shared in these misgivings, for 
the order which he now issued, that no armed bodies of 
men should be admitted into the northern fortresses 
without his special authority, could only have been 
suggested by doubts of his uncle's good faith. 

' Walsinghain gives a pitiable account of the hardships inflicted upon 
the population of the northern counties by Lancaster's army: ''In 
tantum, ut provinciales juramento firmarent, magis aequanimiter adven- 
turn Scoticani exercitus pertulisse, quibus legaliter sive licite poterant 
restitisse, quam Anglorum adventantium ea vice, de quibus, reverentia 
cognitionis et patriae, necnon metu legum, non poterant vindicarl" 
— Ifi'st. Angl, L p. 446. 

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A.D. When, accordingly, on his return from Scotland in 

1342-1408 1282, Lancaster presented himself with his retinue 

before the gates of Berwick, he was refused admission 

by Sir Matthew Redmayne, the Deputy Governor, under 

the Earl of Northumberland. 

" How Cometh this to passe, Sir Redmayne ? " demanded 
the Duke in much anger. " Is there in Northumberland 
a greater sovereign than I am ? '* in reply to which the 
Deputy pleaded the command of his immediate chief 
the Earl, " a pryncipall and soveraigne of all the heades 
of Northumberland." Furious at the rebuff, the Duke 
laid his complaint before the king, and, at a royal 
banquet given on Assumption Day, at Berkhamsted, 
openly reproached the Earl with ingratitude and dis- 
loyalty/ saying : " Henry Percy, I beleeved not that 
ye hadde bene so greete in Englande as to close the 
gates of citie, towne, or castell, agaynst the Duke of 
Lancaster ? The Erie understood whereof the Duke 
meent, and he tempered his speech and sayde : Sir, I 
deny not that the Knyghte dyde, for I cannot ; for by the 
commandment of the King's grace here presente, he 
straigtly enjoyned and commanded me that, on myne 
honor and my life, I shulde not suffer any manner of 
person, lorde or other, to enter into cytie, town, or castell, 
in Northumberland, without he were herytor of the 
place." The Duke answered : " I saye ye have 
acquytted yourselfe right yuill, and the blame and 
slander ye have brought me in to purge in the presence 
of the Kynge, here present, I cast down my gage; 
rayse it an ye dare ! " 

It was not in the nature of a Percy to decline such a 
challenge, and *' the Earl, a/(er the manner of his racey^ 

' ** Deposuit querimoniam contra Comitem, quod non solum inobe- 
diens, sed infidelis et ingratus, extitisset ei, prout praemittitur, turbationis 
generalis temj)estate." — Walsingham, Hist Angl ii. 44. 

• "Comes impatiens (mori gentis suse)." — Walsingham. It is not 

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not able to forbeare, broke out into hard words, when a.d. 
the Duke kept silence in humble manner at the first 'ii^ 
bidding when the King commanded him to keep his 
peace ; ' so that, by reason of the Earl's disobedience in 
that behalf, he was arrested," but subsequently, at the 
intercession of the Earls of Warwick and Suffolk, released 
and pardoned. 

The King, assuming the responsibility for the 
command he had given, and expressing his regret at not 
having made a special exception in favour of the 
members of his family, the quarrel was patched up ; but 
Lancaster's was not a forgiving nature, and before long 
he found an opportunity of wreaking his revenge. 

In 1383 Northumberland was appointed Admiral of 
the North,' in which capacity we find him in consultation 
with the Lord Mayor of London on the means to be 
adopted for the naval defences of the kingdom. The 
juxtaposition of two such offices for such a purpose is 
calculated to provoke a smile ; but it must be remembered 
that the King's navy was then principally maintained by 
a direct tax upon commerce, supplemented by special 
contributions from the wealthier merchants, many of 
whom, even down to a much later period, on their own 
responsibility and at their own cost, built, equipped and 
maintained armed vessels for exploration and the pro- 
tection of merchandise on the seas ; and vied with 
each other in an honorable ambition to establish the 
maritime supremacy of England. 

clear whether the gens is meant to refer to the race of Percy, or to 
the Northerners generally, who were often described as of irascible 

* The contrast between the politic temper of the Duke, and the 
impetuosity of his adversary is well exemplified by Walsingham in this 

• See Nicolas's History of the English Navy. The jurisdiction of the 
Admiral of the North extended to all the coast and ports from the 
mouth of the Thames to Scotland. 

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^D- The remonstrance, which the merchants had in this 

— ° year presented to Parliament against the depredations 
committed on English commerce by French and Spanish 
cruisers, and for which they desired to hold the admirals 
of the fleet responsible, was one of the questions under 
discussion between the admiral and the civic dignitary. 
The earl argued with some show of reason that while he 
and his colleague, the Earl of Devon, were bound to use 
their best efforts to protect merchant shipping, they could 
not be expected to guarantee complete immunity from 
loss or capture.' He engaged, however, to secure the 
appropriation of sums contributed by the city towards 
naval expenditure (which appear occasionally to have 
found their way into wrong pockets) to their legiti- 
mate object. About the same time he submitted to 
Parliament the draft of a more stringent code of laws 
for securing the personal services with the Fleet of such 
of the able-bodied inhabitants of seaside towns as could 
not, or would not, contribute to national defence by 
money payments. • 

The feud between Lancaster and Northumberland 
was not healed, and on the assembly of Parliament in 
this year, the two nobles met one another with large 
armed retinues in undisguised defiance. 

" The Duke laie with his people in the suburbs. . . . 

* " The Earl of Northumberland promised for himself and the Earl of 
Devonshire, Admiral of the West, safely to keep the seas so far as the 
charge granted by the Commons therefor would serve, viz. of \ui. pf 
every pound of merchandise, and 2s. of every tun of wine." — Stowa's 
A finals i p. 291. Sixpence a pound on merchandise is a preposterous 
rate of insurance ; it probably should be per ton. 

* The men of Scarborough appear to have been notorious for their 
breach of these regulations, and there are frequent records of fines im- 
posed upon the town in consequence of the refusal to furnish the requisite 
complement of mariners. One William Percy appears to have been the 
leader in this opposition to the law, and was as such specially excepted 
from the operation of a general pardon granted to the townsmen in 1383. 
—Rot Pari. 6 Richd. II. . 


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the Erie being lodged within the cytie, having greate a.d. 
friendshipp shown towards him by the citizens, who ^3^3 
promised to assist him at all times when necessity 
requyred, so that his parte seemed to be overstrong for 
the Duke, if they should have come to any tryel of their 
forces at that tyme. . . Every daye when they went 
to Parlement House at Westminster, both parties went 
thither in armor, with an exceeding number of armed 
men, to the great terror of those that were wise and 
fearing some mischief to fall forth," ' It finally required 
a special and peremptory command from the king"* to 
induce them to dispense with these escorts during 
their attendance on Parliament. 

In this year Sir Thomas Percy and Hotspur accom- 
panied the Bishop of Norwich in his military expedition 
against Flanders, when " the preests and religious men 
fought most eagerlie, some of them slaying sixteen of 
the enemyes," without achieving any result, however. 
On the conclusion of this fruitless campaign, Thomas 
Percy proceeded on a mission to Paris for the purpose of 
once more negotiating a truce with France. 

Lancaster's intrigues with the Scottish king, so far 
from bringing about peace, had aggravated tlje feeling of 
mutual irritation. On neither side of the Border were 
the lords able to disband their forces, and the Earl of 
Northumberland alone kept on foot a retinue consisting 
of four bannerets, sixty-seven knights, and oyer one 

* Holinshead. The Rolls of Parliament record " La grant force de 
gentz d'armes et d|archiers abroiez au pied de guerre venuz au parlia- 
ment de Tun et Tautre partie." 

* "Great debate rose between the Duke of Lancaster and the Earl 
of Northumberland, and ... the King with his councel and nobles 
were much busied to appease the same, the King therefore adjourned 
the said Parliament till Saturday after." — Stow^'s Annals, p. 195. 

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A-D. thousand esquires, and archers, besides foot soldiers.* 
1342-1408 j^ ^^^ course of one of the ensuing raids the Scotch 
succeeded in once more gaining possession of Berwick, 
with the connivance, it was generally believed, of the 
officer who, in Sir Matthew Redmayne's absence, had 
been entrusted with the custody of the fortress. 
Lancaster seized the opportunity to strike a blow 
at his absent rival, who was now impeached on 
the charge of having twice during this reign allowed 
an important post in his custody to fall into the 
hands of the enemy. The proceedings were curt 
and arbitrary ; without being called upon for his de- 
fence, the earl was summarily sentenced to attainder 
and death." The course he adopted in his vindication 
was no less prompt and decisive. The defences of 
Berwick had been greatly strengthened since its last cap- 
ture, and he now so closely invested the place that it was 
said that ** a bird could not have escaped." On hearing, 
however, that a strong Scottish army was approaching to 
raise the siege he offered terms to the garrison, who con- 
sented to march out in consideration of a money payment 
of two thousand marks. ^ The king's authority being 
thus restored. Parliament revoked the sentence passed 
upon the Earl, and, much to Lancaster's displeasure,* 

« See Appendix XVIL 

• " The Duke of Lancaster, who had no good wylle to the said erle, 
was well affraid that he had no good matter to charge his adversary 
withal, so that through his meanes the Earl of Northumberland was 
sore accused, and had much ado to escape the danger of being reputed 
a traytor." — Froissart. 

3 " Scoti Berivicum capiunt per proditionem 
£t damnatur ab hoc inditus, ille comes 
Northumbrae ; sed ei villam sub conditione 
Restituunt, marcis mille bis datis." 

— Memorial Verses of the Reigns of Edward IIL and Richard IL^ edited 
by Thomas Wright. 

4 " Cujus executionis vindicta per regem postea cito relaxata fuit, quam- 
vis id Duci, ut dictum, displecerit" — Walsingham. The letters patent 


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TiiK Ta:cY him::1'-. 

Kir y ^'ichard filly cxrcM'a-rJ hi:n f"--!:. iiVi b]ati:c '-i a.d In year ti;e K'-^:; tcok t'*'i ] - rs(^ual 
c^*.i:iri:id of an oxpcci-tioa Ivi.* S^,.:,'ic:ni]. wi';! .t fiir.x ui* 

'vV':'-'\ brinyrri'^ h^.o the i.t:i:i 'vv:.- *- ; a ^-.-j -Men-' I'^-inns 
and ;/.o archcis' ; Hoi.s|''ir bn.)..\!.: ir ,. , ...'i.'i"s L-\y'^ '.r 

v'O.s i'S usual quite inadcqaa;.; to t:'- (. ;.* uL of i\\>c 


Tn r??-' c!.- Ead of' Notlii >• .' t - ' .• : t<' :; f.u- a 
lot-ona wife* Maid, si-t^r ind -.v^ifi -^s ff .Vtii^ -nv. Lord 
l,-.^v. aod wiaovv of liis co^isin. i iT' ■>. t o- I'lnfi -.vilb', 
L.iri of An'Mi .• i\y h r, \v::<., died in i,Vv-» ^''' «''b'«dncd 
ilhi k">n"i.r (4' (Vickt.'i'ira-uth, with nin : iraii-^rs, !.t-^:dv,s 
id'na b^r.^c p-s. cssicnr. in ^,ortUI]lnh^:r "iih-], CiKi^'b^a-LMid, 
:. d I in f'^liiri !rv ' '*''^'i '^. roLvai. ics of ni' adow a-id; fo -a 
la '/ in Arai:«1al( / all of ^' lucli. :a liif" cvf.i'" .-f ''^-r 
^ ivir-i' Hw r'> . e, sb.^-- - *!' 1 iinor; hi^ ii.-»is :i...' . ■ :! 

^ i. 

r.)r:d:U''j:-t that tra^y ^i^..';ild vir tlv: i.^.'V- -. ■'* I > y 

in Ih^c ; •!(.• i« ; uu.:i;^s ni.." ; .la-u ., . ".r!: a ; i 

r„-t"i .' ..< : :.'" h'< hciir. ...,. '!..n . , -- . r / % . ■ , 

\':. 4^.<. 

' M ^ l::^t u/l, th- d'l.J.-Lr ut 1 ^-i > —,!-.' 

'I.'M'li./v (.: Tioie. hai ,-,Tt..3.std in i;6';, 1\. > •' . i 

}\:-\ til v,h,),i,.'ir^' in ti.r f )".ltiVvnv >tar, \va>. oj- < • ■ ;•'•', 

'^ ■ ns *'v • I.: :'. •.. 1*1 '.'1 1 r urv, nn 'i :uc wiic t^I ('." > . . '.l'. 
L 'i! of \i ^ :•>. 

'11 or-' Ir.'^ :\ovi'>iis;'. Ik-oii aconni. Im*; '•• -» ;;- .- ' . t^-c 

L'liirr -v .c .. .\'- : ■ .'ot. d'uii;! ter of f -^ . • i ■ ' : .<% 

V..*i..-, :ri.tiTH(i f".u 'Oil of a\^ pit-reu:'.^ - • ■ ■ 90. 

* 1 '.''i; "^ i . '.II ;iijcit iV rn?<K--, • ■ ^ - •. wry 

* '. T.iliv ^tat(.i.l ' ;avu conit* lo tin* f ' w^:, uui 
.,.!( li \\u:i not ' .>, . ". See Aj T cn*a\ A * . 

5 {.'c*j' '.'ii. FOi e 'I'irfarum, qO\ Ki« iia^vi I! 

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King Richard fully exonerated him from all blame in a.d. 
the matter. 'ii^ 

Later in the year the King took the personal 
command of an expedition into Scotland, with a force of 
15,000 men. Northumberland commanded the rere- 
ward, bringing into the field with him 400 men-of-arms 
and 300 archers ' ; Hotspur brought 100, and his brother 
Thomas sixty of each ; but the result of the campaign 
was as usual quite inadequate to the extent of these 

• • 

In 1386 the Earl of Northumberland took for a 
second wife ' Maud, sister and heiress of Anthony, Lord 
Lucy, and widow of his cousin Gilbert de Umfreville, 
Earl of Angus.3 By her, who died in 1392, he obtained 
the honour of Cockermouth, with nine manors, besides 
other large possessions in Northumberland, Cumberland, 
and Lincolnshire,* and 8,000 acres of meadow and forest 
land in Allandale,* all of which, in the event of her 
having no issue, she settled upon his heirs male on 
condition that they should bear the arms of Lucy 

dated 17th February, 1385, recite the earl's alleged offence "quem 
in hoc parte reputamus innocentem," and conclude with a full 
restoration of all his honours, dignities, and possessions, — Fxdera^ 
vil 463. 

» A retinue only exceeded in numbers by that of the king himself. 

' His first wife, the daughter of Lord Nevill of Raby, had died 
in 1372. 

3 Lord Lucy, or Lucie, had deceased in 1369, leaving an only daughter 
Elizabeth who, dying in the following year, was succeeded in her posses- 
sions by her aunt Maud Lucy, then the wife of Gilbert de Umfreville, 
Earl of Angus. 

There had previously been a connection between the Percies and the 
Umfrevilles, Margaret, daughter of the second Lord Percy of Alnwick, 
having married the son of the preceding Earl of Angus. See ante p. 90. 

* Prudhoe Castle, an ancient possession of the Umfrevilles, is very 
generally stated to have come to the Percies by this marriage, but 
such was not the case. See Appendix XVI I\ 

5 Calend, Rot Chariarum, 9th Richard IL 


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A.D. quartered with their own ; " which promise/' says Holins- 

^342-1403 head, ** the Percies have bona fide performed, presenting 

so near a relation between the two coates that in a maner 

mutuo seponunt et auferunt, so that if either both are 

seen together." * 

Fuller accords this lady an honourable place among 
his worthies, "partly because of her harmless device 
to perpetuate her family, partly because of her great 
affection for her husband, she but a second and ho 
wife of his youth, bringing him no children, and having 
no doubt heirs of her owne name and blood, though she 
were barren, would be bountiful to endue that family 
with possessions which -*she could not endow with 
posteritie. Say not the Percy's profit was the Lucy's 
loss ; for what saith the Scripture ? Is it not lawful for 
me to do what I will with mine own ? • 

Among other possessions which this alliance brought 
into the Percy family was the manor of Wressill, in 
Yorkshire, which, either by gift or sale, was subsequently 
acquired by Sir Thomas Percy, who made it his principal 
residence, and expended large sums upon its improve- 
ment. Indeed, he would appear to have almost entirely 

* '* This said Maud Lucie as I understand 

Married herself condicional to aforesaid seventh Henry, Earl of 

As to saie that the Lord Percie should beare continuallye 
The Blue Lion and the Lucies' silver in his armes quarterlye." 

From a contemporary poem in Grose's Antiquarian Repertory, The 
settlement of the Lucy lands and arms upon the sons of the first Earl 
of Northumberland by his previous marriage was validated by letters 
patent. Rot. Fin, 8, Richard IL, Appendix XVIP. 

■ In the course of some structural alterations in Beverley Cathedral in 
167 1 the tomb of this lady was opened, when her body is reported to 
have been found in a state of perfect preservation ** in a fine coffin of 
stone, embalmed, and covered with cloth of gold, and on her feet slippek^ 
embroidered in silver and gold, and therein a wax lamp and candles and 
a plated candelstick." — Drake's History of York. See also on this subject 
Whittock's County of York and Cough's Stpulch. Monum. 


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N ' • ' . 

r ! ('ft.- 

>.. ■ . :.. : 1 . 


.i'»; '.M'" 



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rebuilt the castle with stone said to have been imported a.d. 
from France. 'ii^ 

Writing in 1538, Leland' says of it: 

" The house is one of the most proper beyond Trente 
and semith as newly made, yet was it made by a 
yonger brother of the Percy's, Erie of Worcester, that 
was yn hygh favor with Richard the secunde, and 
bought the manor of Wressill, mounting at that time to 
little above 30 li by the yere, and for lak of heirs of 
hym and by favour of the kyng, it came to the Erles of 

Early in 1386 Hotspur, who was then at Yarmouth 
with his brother Ralph, at the head of a force of 300 
men-at-arms and 600 lances, there collected to resist a 
threatened French invasion, impatient at the enemy's 
delay, took the offensive, and crossing the Channel " made 
such ridings into the quarters about Callis that they 
never wish a worse neighbour."" His services had by 
this time won him the love and admiration of his 
countrymen ; he had become the people's idol, 

" And by his light 
Did all the chivalry of England move 
To do brave acts . ... the glass 
Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves." » 

Even his personal defects became the fashion, and we 
are told that a certain thickness or hesitation of speech 
with which he was afflicted was, with the sincere flattery 
of imitation, assumed by his admirers. All were proud 
of the skilful and dauntless young soldier who had 

* Itinerary. The author does not seem to have been aware that 
Wressill had been brought into the family by the Earl's marriage with 
the Lady Maud Lucy. 

• Speed. 3 Second Part cf Henry IV., Act ii. Sc. 3. 

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A.D. succeeded ** in making his name as much feered by the 

1342-1408 French on the seas as by the Scots on the Border," * and 

in whom the brilliant courage, knightly courtesy, and 

endearing manners of the Black Prince lived again,' to 

gladden and inspire with hope the heart of England. 

The envy which ever dogs the steps of fame was not, 
however, now absent in high quarters, and Richard 
was greatly under the influence of a few evil counsellors, 
who maintained their ascendency by pandering to his 
passions, and working upon his foibles. The Earl 
of Northumberland had persistently opposed and 
thwarted these men, who now sought an opportunity 
of at once revenging themselves upon an enemy 
too powerful for overt attack, and of damaging a 
popular idol. They accordingly induced the king to 
order Hotspur to take the command, against a powerful 
French fleet in the Channel, of a naval expedition so 
insufficient and so ill-equipped that its defeat appeared 
inevitable. The unworthy plot was carefully laid. 
Whether their victim fell in the unequal struggle, or 
survived a crushing defeat, or if, recognising the hope- 
lessness of the conflict, he declined the service, their 
object of tarnishing his military reputation would be alike 
attained. The latter contingency was the least to be appre- 
hended. Hotspur had never paused to calculate chances 
when the command to strike was given, and now, " either 
• ignorant or not much waieing of that which they 
craftilye had arranged agaynste him, he boldlie and 
valiantlie executed the business enjoyned him, and 
having remained abroad the whole time of his appointed 
service, returned safelie home." ^ 

* Harleian MSS, 3634, vol. 193, 

« Of Hotspur's extreme impetuosity of temper, as represented by 
Shakespeare, there is no record in contemporary works. 

3 Holinshead ; who charges the king's advisers with this base design 


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Under the convention entered into on Lancaster's a.d. 
marriage with the daughter of Peter the Cruel, he 'il^ 
should, on the death of King Henry of Castile, have 
succeeded to that throne in right of his wife. Henry's 
son, however, had disregarded this act of settlement and 
assumed the crown in succession to his father. Lancaster 
had long meditated an expedition for the recovery of 
his personal rights, and now availed himself of his in- 
fluence over Richard to obtain a large subsidy towards 
the costs of a war in which England had no concern, 
and from the results of which she could derive no 
advantage. The time too, was ill-chosen for denuding 
the country of ships and soldiers, for the northern coasts 
and seaports of France were swarming with armies and 
fleets, collected with the avowed object of an invasion 
of the kingdom. 

But Lancaster allowed no consideration to stand 
between him and his ambitious projects. He raised 
an army of 20,000 picked men, of whom over 1,000 
were knights and squires,* and who were embarked in a 
fleet of 200 ships under the command of Sir Thomas 
Percy. The expedition sailed from England in the 8th July, 
early summer " when the seas were calm, the aire sweet, 
and the winds pleasant and agreeable." ' 

against Hotspur, *' because he had got a name amongst the common 
people to be a very hardie and valyant gentleman as well among Eng- 
lishmen and Scotchmen." Tyrrell writes in the same strain, and attri- 
butes the jealousy of the court to the young soldier's "great reputation 
and the fear of the increese of it ; yet he undertook the employment, 
and, having behaved gallantly against the French, he returned home in 
safety, very much to the disappointment of his enemies." Both these 
writers derive their information from Walsingham. See Hist Angl. 

il p. 157. 

« " One thousand speres of knyghtes and squiers, and of good men- 
at-arms, and two thousand archers, and one thousand of other tawle 
yeomen. " — Froissart. 

* Holinshead. Froissart says, " It was a greate beautye to see the 
galleys glyde on the sea approaching the lande full of men-of-armes and 
archers sekinge for some adventures." 


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A.D. There was a holiday air in all the accompaniments of 

134*2^400 jj^jg campaign, and a great deal more negotiation than 
fighting. On the arrival of his fleet at the mouth of 
the Tagus, Lancaster proceeded to arrange a marriage 
between his eldest daughter and the King of Portugal, 
who thereupon agreed to furnish a contingent to join in 
the war against Castile ; but months were passed in jousts, 
banquets, and costly festivities before an attempt was 
made to invade Spanish territory, and in answer to 
Lancaster's challenge. King John said, mockingly : " The 
Englishmen were wont to say that we could better dance 
than make war, but now it is tyme that they rest and 
synge and we keep the feldes.*' 

After a few desultory engagements, without any decisive 
result, a treaty was concluded under which Lancaster 
surrendered his personal claims to the throne of Spain in 
consideration of a very large money payment " and a 
marriage between the Prince of Asturias and his youngest 
daughter Katherine, who thus became the future Queen 
of Castile.* 

Sir Thomas Percy had during this expedition been 
alternately employed at sea, in the field, and in a variety 
of courtly and diplomatic duties. He had a hand-to-hand 

' " The condycion was that the Kynge of Spayne should in recoin- 
pencacion of his costys paye so many wedgis of golde as shulde chare:e 
or lade viii charattis, and over that yearlie, during the lyves of the saide 
Duke and his wyfe, he shulde at his proper cost and charge delyver 
to the Duke's assyneys ten thousande marks of golde." — Fabian's 

■ The lady was in her thirteenth, and her spouse in his seventh, year. 
Lancaster in his previous appearance as a matchmaker at Lisbon is 
amusingly described by Froissart : " Syr," he said to the king, " I have 
in the towne of Santiago (St. James) two daughters. I will give you one 
of them whom it pleseth you to choose. Syr, send thyther your coun- 
sayle and I will hand her to you." The king appears to have understood 
that he was offered two wives, for he is made to reply : '* Syr, I thanke 
you ; ye offer me more than I desyre. As for my cosyn Katheryne 
I wyll leave her styll with you, but as to Phylip your daughter, her I 
demande, and wyll wedde her, and make her Queen of Portyugele." 


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combat at the gates of Noya with the Chevalier Barrois a.d. 
des Barres, a famous French knight ; he took part in the 'il^ 
various raids in Galicia, and led the successful attack on 
Ribadivia with 300 spears and 500 archers. After the mar- 
riage by proxy of the Lady Philippa he was entrusted to 
convey the young queen to the court of Portugal. We 
next jfind him with the Duke and Duchess of Lancaster 
and their daughter Katherine, " sporting them under the 
shadows of the fair olive trees," whence he was summoned 
to receive the submission of Betancos, and having 
garrisoned that stronghold, he proceeded to escort the 
duchess to Oporto on a visit to her newly-married 
daughter. Finally, he was the principal negotiator of 
the treaty with the King of Castile, and a subscribing 
witness to the Lady Katherine s marriage. 

So far as the Duke of Lancaster was concerned the 
Spanish expedition had not bp en barren of results ; he 
returned to England a much richer man after having 
placed the crowns of Portugal and Castile on the heads 
of his two daughters, England, however, had nothing to 
show in return for her sacrifices ; not even one military 
triumph to compensate for an enormous expenditure, while 
of the magnificent army which had sailed a year before 
barely one-third had survived the fatal fevers prevalent 
in those parts, or the privations incident to this fruitless 

In this year another treaty of peace with Scotland was 
concluded between the Earls of Northumberland and 

* The climate of Spain had proved as fatal to Lancaster's army as it 
had to that of the Black Prince twenty years before. Among those who 
fell victims to the prevailing epidemic, " three great Barons of England 
and rich men dyed in their beds, which was greate damage and a greate 
loss to the country : Sir Richard Burley, Lord Poynings, and the Lord 
Percy" (whom Froissart describes as cousin-german to the Earl of 
Northumberland, but who was his second son). Lord Po)mings had on 
the eve of his embarkation made his will, under which he had appointed 
** William Percy " executor. — Testamenta Vetusta. 

VOL. I. 145 L 

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July, 1388. 


A.D. Douglas. The indenture' is couched in magniloquent, 
'342-1408 jf somewhat unintelligible, language, and proved no 
more binding than the innumerable other treaties, the 
ratification of which seems to have been resorted to 
periodically as a prelude to the outbreak of fresh 
hostilities. It was certainly such in this instance, for, 
after several less important raids, the Scots invaded 
England with an army of 40,000 men in two columns, of 
which one under the Earl of Fife entered Cumberland 
and advanced upon Carlisle, "sparing neither fier nor 
sword all the way as he passed," * while Douglas,^ led 
the other across the Tyne, and after having ravaged the 
country as far as Durham proceeded to invest Newcastle, 
the defence of which the Earl of Northumberland 
(while himself employed at Alnwick* in raising a force 
to intercept the enemy) had entrusted to his two sons 
Henry and Ralph; % 

It was no uncommon practice in the wars of those times 
for the leaders of armies to challenge one another to 
single combat, or, as a preliminary, to break a few spears 

» The preamble runs as follows : " Yis indenture made at the water 
of Eske, beside Salom, the xv day of March the ^^" of our lorde, 
mccclxxxiv. betwix noble lordes and meghty seignuris, Henry Percy, 
Earl of Northumbre of the ta parte, and Archbald of Douglas Lord of 
Gal way on the toyer parte." — FasderOy viL 468. 

« Holinshead's Scot/and, ** It was during this expedition that the Scots, 
finding that 200 old men, women, and children had taken refuge in a 
disused building, set fire to it and roasted them alive." 

3 William E^l of Douglas, grandson of Archibald Lord Douglas, 
who fell at Halidon. Speed calls him "a noble young knight, a parallel 
in the honor of arms of Hotspur." 

4 Holinshead attributes the earl's absence from Newcastle to his being 
" by reason of extreme age not able to sturre abroad (anie thing to pur- 
pose) himself." He was actually at this time in his forty-seventh year 
and certainly showed no signs of decrepitude at the battle which ensued 
a few days later. According to the better informed French chronicler, 
the earl said to his sons, "Ye shall go to Newcastle and all the country 
shall assemble there, and I shall tarry at Alnwick, which is a passage that 
they must passe by. If we may inclose them we shall spede well." 
— Froissart, 

146 • 

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in test of their personal prowess. In the course of the a.d. 1388 

siege of Newcastle, " Henrie Percie, desirous to make 

some proof of his singular manhood wherein he greetlie 

trusted, required to fight with the Erie of Douglass, man 

to man, which request the erle granting, they came 

mounted on too greete coursers with sharpe grounde 

speeres at the utterance." ' 

The result of the combat is quaintly described in these 

lines : — 

** Thir forcie freikis that tyme face for face. 
They ran togedder with ane awful race. 
The Douglas wes rycht sle, and could ryde weill, 
The Piersies spier, that heidit was with steill, 
Umshewit has withoutin ony skaith ; 
With his awin spyer that greite and long was baythie 
He hytt the Piersie so upoun the syde, 
Suppois he was rycht weill leirit to ryde, 
For ony fence that tyme that he could mak 
Ifg laid htm braidlings than upoun his bak^ ' 

Hotspur had met his match for once, and would have 
been taken prisoner (for a knight in armour unhorsed and 
prostrate was at the mercy of his adversary) but that ** the 
Englishmen that stode without the gate made for the 
rescue, recovered him on foot, and brought him forthwith 
back into the town." ^ 

Douglas thereupon made a final assault upon the 
stronghold, and " filling the dytches with haie faggots 
came with ladders to the walls, but the Englishmen so well 
defended themselves that the Scottes were beaten back, 
not without great loss and struggles to their people." * 

Before retiring, Douglas had taunted Hotspur with 
the loss of his lance and pennon, saying : ** Syr, I 
shall bear this token of your prowess into Scotland, and 

' Holinshed. Other writers allege that there was no such challenge 
or preconcerted combat, and that the encounter took place in a sortie 
led by Hotspur when the two leaders accidentally met face to face. 

« Metrical Chronicles of Scotland, 

3 Froissart * Ibid, 

VOL. I. 147 L 2 

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A.D. shall sett it on high in my castle of Dalkeith, that it may 
1342-1408 j^^ g^^j^ f^^ ^ff gyj.^ quoth Sir Henry, ye may be sure 

ye shall not passe the boundes of the countrye tyll ye be 
mett withal in such wyse that ye shall make none avaunt 
thereof. Well, Syr, quod the Erie of Dowglasse, come 
thys nyghte to my lodgyngs and seek for your penon ; I 
shall sett it before my lodgynge and see if ye will come 
and take it awaye." ' 

It is possible that but for this insulting challenge the 
Scots might have recrossed the border unmolested, and 
the life of the brave Douglas and of some thousands of 
others have been spared. Such a defiance, however, was 
more than a Percy could brook ; and although Hotspur's 
impetuosity was so far restrained as to induce him to 
yield to the counsel of cooler heads and to defer pursuit 
of the enemy until he could effect a junction with his 
father's forces, he determined to regain the trophy of the 
Scottish chief before it should pass from English soil.* 

Retiring by slow marches, and committing by the way 
as much depredation and plunder as the ruined state of 
the district admitted of, Douglas encamped his army 
near the castle of Otterboume about fifteen miles to the 
north of Newcastle, where he was overtaken by the Earl 
of Northumberland.* The sun had already set when 
15th August the English forces assaulted Douglas in his camp. " Then 

* Froissart 

* In a memorandum by the Bishop of Dromore, among the MSS. 
at Syon House, it is stated that " the family of Douglas of Cavers, 
hereditary sheriffs of Teviotdale have long had in their possession an 
old standard, which they believe to be the very penon won from 
Hotspur by the Earl of Dou^as, to whom their ancestor was standard- 
bearer in the expedition. On Sept 7, 1774, I was at Cavers and was 
shown the old standard." 

As this flag, however, is described as having borne not the Percy but 
the Douglas badges and motto, it could not have been the property of 

3 The great diversity in the various contemporary accounts of the 
battle of Otterboume extends even to the date, which ranges according 
to different authorities from 31st July to isth August 


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they cryed Percy ! the other party cryed Dough's ! . . . . a.d. 
their two banners met and their menne; there was a *if? 
sore fight ; the Englishmen were so stronge and fought 
so valyantlye that they reculed the Scots backe." * 

All the records of the battle up to this point concur in 
assigning the advantage to the English ; but the night 
closing in, Douglas was enabled to rally his forces and 
when, on the moon rising, the fight was resumed, he in 
his turn took the offensive. The Northumbrians were 
thrown into some disorder by an attack upon their rear 
made by the Bishop of Durham who, coming late into 
the field with reinforcements, had mistaken his allies for 
the enemy. The struggle proceeded for several hours 
with varying fortunes, but with unflagging spirit. '* Of 
all thebataylles and encountrynges," says Froissart, **that 
I have made mencion of heretofore in all this my story 
greet or small, this bataylle that I treet of now was one 
of the sorest and best foughten without cowardes or 
faynte hartes ; for there was nother knyghts nor squyer 
but that did his devoyre and foughte hande to hande 
.... The Erie of Northumberland and his sonnes 
Sir Henry and Sir Rafe Percie, who were chefe sovereign 
capytaynes, acquitted themselves nobly.'' 

Twice or thrice did the young rival leaders meet face 
to face in mortal combat,* but there is no direct 
evidence to confirm the popular tradition of Douglas 
having fallen by the hand of Hotspur.^ 

* Froissart. 

* ** Erat ibidem cemere pulchnim spectaculum, duos tam proeclaros 
juvenes manus conserere et pro gloria decertare." — ^Walsingham, Hist. 
AngL ii. 176. 

3 " At Otterbourne as chronyclers doo tell 
Henry Percy with small hoste on theym fell, 
And slew Douglas, and many put to flyght 
And gate the feld upon his enemys ryght" 

— Hardyng's Chronicle, 

Hardyng did not enter the service of Hotspur till two years after the 


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A.D. Q)ntemporary writers differ so widely in their estimate 

1342-1408 ^f ^^^ numbers engaged, that it is hopeless to attempt 
to arrive at any conclusion on the subject. The carnage, 
however, appears to have been exceptionally great, and 
the victory was (not an unusual occurrence in these 
wars) claimed by both sides.' 

Hotspur, according to most authorities, continued to 
join the fight after he had been abandoned by his troops, 


** Into the feld alroaist left than allane, 
That samyn tyme with Scottismen was tane, 
The lief all fled and durst na langer byde." ' 

But Fordun insists that the English had held their ground 
manfully until the two Percies were taken prisoners, 
when, as usual in the absence of leaders, they wavered 
and broke. 

Ralph Percy had '* entered in so farre among his 
enemyes that he was closed in and hurte, and so sore 
handeled that his brethe was so shorte that he was 
taken prysoner by a knyghte of the Earl of Moray 
called Sir John Maxwell. It was dark and he could 
not make out who he was when Sir Rafe was so over- 
come and bledde fast ; so at the last he said, I am Rafe 
Percy. Sir Rafe, reschew or no reschew.^ I am 
Maxwell ! Well, quoth Sir Rafe, I am contente — 

battle, but during the twelve years that he remained by his side, first as 
page and later as esquire, he must have had opportunities of learning 
whether or not his lord claimed to have personally overthrown his 
opponent, which he evidently believed to be the case. Against this 
we must put the report that when Douglas fell mortally wounded it was 
his last prayer, that his death should be concealed lest the tidings 
should dishearten his troops. Such a precaution would hardly have 
been taken if Hotspur had been able to proclaim the fact of the 
Scottish leader having fallen by his hand. 

» Mackenzie, in his History of NewcastUy says that " the English were 
rather unfortunately than dishonorably defeated," and that the Earl 
of Northumberland was wounded in the battle; but he gives no 
authority for the latter statement, which does not appear elsewhere. 

■ Metrical Chronicles. 


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but pray take some hede to me for I am sore hurte ; my a.d. 1388 
hosen and my gretces are full of blode^ ' "^ 

He was humanely treated by his captor and finally 
handed over to the Earl of Moray, who was greatly 
pleased, and said : " Makyrell, thou hast well won thy 

Hotspur was shortly afterwards ransomed ^ upon a 
payment of 3,000/., towards which the English parliament 
voted 1,000/.* 

The battle of Otterboume was, from a national point 
of view, of no more importance than many long since 
forgotten border conflicts, and owes its fame far more to 
the ballads which have celebrated it than to any historic 
value attaching to the event itself. Nearly five centuries 
have elapsed since, wandering from village to village, now 
in the poor man's cottage, now in the halls of princes and 
nobles, these songs were sung by " some blinde crowder 
with no rougher voice than rude style ; " yet this wild 

* According to the Metrical Chronicles^ 

*' Sir Radulf Percie in that sam3m stound (hour) 
In his boddie buir mony bludie wound," 

and his captor permitted him to be conveyed on parole to Newcastle, 
" to seike him leichis that were fine and gude." 

The humane treatment of wounded prisoners appears to have been 
a redeeming feature in the barbarous warfare of the borders. 

' Froissart According to other historians it was Sir Henry Preston 
who took Ralph Percy and handed him over to King Robert, who 
granted him the Barony of Fermartyne and the lands of Fyvie as the 
price of the prisoner. See Appendix XVIIr 

* The honour of Hotspur's capture was claimed by several Scottish 
warriors, but John, Lord Montgomery, or, according to others, Sir Hew 
Montgomerie, whose son had been killed in the course of the battle, 
would appear to have been entitled to it The latter is said to have 
built the castle of Polnoon with the proceeds of the ransom. 

* " To Henry de Percy, son and heir of the Erie of Northumberland, 
for money paid to him by assignment made this day in part payment of 
1 ,000/., which the Lord the King, with the advice of his counsel, com- 
manded to be paid to the said Henry of his gift in aid of his ransome 
having been lately taken in the Scotts war: 500/." — Issue JiollSy 12th 
Richard IL (15th July, 1389). 

VOL. I. 151 

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A.D. music is to this day as fresh and inspiring as when it 
1342-140 made our glorious Sidney " feel his heart stirred more 
than with a trumpet" ' 

What can be finer than the involuntary outbreak of 
admiration at his adversary's prowess on the part of 
each combatant in the pauses of his savage onslaught ? 

"At last the Duglas and the Persfe met, 

Lyk to captayns of myght and mayne. 
The swapte togethar tyll the both swat, 

With swordes that wear of fyn mylUui (fine Milan), 
Thes worths freckys for to fyght, 

Ther-to the wear full fayne, 
Tyll the bloode owt oflf thear basnetes sprente 

As ever dyd heal or rayne. 
Holde the, Pers^ ! said the Doglas, 

And i' feth I shall the brjmge 
Wer thowe shalte have a yerl's wagis 

Of Jamy our Scottish kynge. 

* Thou shalt have thy ransom fre, 

I hight the hear this thinge ; 
JFar the manfully st man yet art thowe 
That ever I conqueryd in fildefyghtyng! 

* Nay then,' sayd the Lord Persfe, 

* I tolde it the befome, 
That I wolde never yeldyde be 

To no man of a woman borne.' 
With that ther cam an arrowe hastely, 

Forthe off a mightie wane ; 
Hit hath strekene the yerle Duglas 

In at the Brest Bane. 
Thoroue lyvar and longs bathe 

The sharp arrowe ys gane, 
That never after in all his lyffe dayes 

He spayke mo wordes but ane — 
That was, * Fyghte ye, my myrry men, whyllys ye may, 

For my lyfF dayes ben gan ! ' 
The Pers^ leanyde on his brande. 

And sawe the Duglas de, 
Ife tooke the dede man be the hande 

And sayd, * Woys me for thee I 
To have savyde thy lyffe I wolde have pertyd with 

My landes for years thre. 
For a better man of hart, nare of hande, 

Was not in all the north countrh' " ' 

» Sir Philip Sidney's Defence of Poetry. 

■ The ancient Ballad of Chevy Chace. — Rdiques of Ancient English 
Poetry, vol. L p. 10. 

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There is no record of any such incident as forms the a.d. 1388 
story of " Chevy Chace;" yet it is not at all impossible that 
the battle of Otterbourne, the leading incidents of which 
have been introduced into this ballad, owed its origin 
to, and was the final result of, some such conflict in the 
Cheviot Hills. According to the international law of 
the Marches, neither Scotch nor English could without 
special invitation or license hunt in one another's 
grounds. It would have been quite consistent with 
the character and temper of Hotspur, that in revenge 
for some offence committed by a rival and hereditary 
enemy, or even out of a mere spirit of defiance, 
he should vow 

" That he wolde hunte in the mountayns 
• Off Chyviat within dayes thre, 

In the maugre of doughtb Dogles, 
And all that ever with him be." 

The first part of the ballad concludes with Douglas 
entering upon the scene, finding Percy's men " brytling " 
the "hundrith fat hartes," which they had slain, and 
challenging the English chief to single combat. Such 
an incident would be quite within the limits of reality, 
and the curtain would now appropriately fall upon the 
first act of the drama.* 

The date assigned to the earliest extant version of 
the ballad (which was doubtless in its original form the 

* This is the view taken by the Bishop of Dromore, to whose 
research and critical taste and judgment we are indebted for 
those fascinating volumes from which so much of our knowledge of 
English minstrelsy from the middle ages downwards is derived. 
Dr. Percy says, " Douglas would not fail to resent the insult and 
endeavour to repel the intruders by force. This would naturally 
produce a conflict between the two parties, something of which it is 
probable did really happen, though not attended with the tragical 
circumstances recorded in the ballad, for those are evidently borrowed 
from the battle of Otterboume, a very different event, but which after 
times would easily confound with it" — Introduction to the ballad Chciy 


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A.D. composition of a contemporary, though perhaps never 
1342-1408 reduced to writing) is the reign of Henry VI. We may- 
conclude that in the interval the song underwent those 
mutilations, corruptions, and additions to which legendary 
lore is ever liable, and that in the endeavour to supply- 
missing links, and to give continuity to the narrative, 
much extraneous matter was introduced. A careful 
reading between the lines would seem to suggest that 
the original ballad contained an intermediate part repre- 
senting the invasion of Northumberland, with the siege of 
Newcastle and the joust between Hotspur' and Douglas. 
The concluding part as it now stands would then 
appropriately commemorate the last act of the drama at 
Otterboume.* Upon some such theory alone is it possible 
to reconcile the burden of the original ballad with 
historical fact, which, however apt it was to become 
distorted by poetic license or exaggerated by popular 
fancy, always formed the groundwork of our national 

Indeed, the practice of transferring the incidents of 
one period to another, for purposes of pictorial effect, 
may well be excused in an anonymous ballad-singer, since 
it was adopted by so high an authority as Walter Scott, 
who has not hesitated to introduce into his dramatic 
poem of Halidon Hill the principal events which oc- 
curred, seventy years later, at the battle of Homildon. 
He justifies this on the ground of there having been 
many features of resemblance in the two actions — a 
Scottish army under a Douglas being on both occasions 

» It is noteworthy that in the ballad as we have it Henry Percy is not 
once called by that sobriquet 

* Dr. Percy assigns priority of date to the ballad of Otterboume 
over "Chevy Chace." In spite of some anachronisms, the result, 
doubdess, of more recent interpolations, the former is much the more 
accurate in matters of fact. On the other hand, it is less impartial, and 
its strong leaning to the English cause points to its author as a partisan 
of the Percies. 


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defeated by the superior strategy of the English, and a a.d. 
Gordon being left on the field of battle. He might ^386-1388 
have added another coincidence, for at Halidon, as at 
Homildon, the victorious army was commanded by a 

• • 

King Richard's character was disfigured by certain 
features peculiarly offensive to the national sentiment of 
his age. He does not appear to have been wanting in 
personal courage, but whatever warlike spirit he in- 
herited from his father and grandfather was obscured 
and deadened by irresolution and indolence. A long 
tutelage had been little conducive to strengthening his 
moral constitution ; and when, by an occasional spasmodic 
effort of the will, he asserted himself and shook off his 
unwelcome counsellors, it was but to fall under the 
influence of intriguing courtiers, who were ever ready to 
purchase the royal favour at the expense of the best 
interests of their country. The English court had 
attained to a degree of effeminate luxury and waste- 
fulness unknown under former reigns ; ' and the gratifi- 
cation of the king s extravagant tastes no less than 
the insatiable cupidity of his favourites necessitated 
ever increasing impositions upon a people already 
irritated by a foreign policy mainly directed to the 
maintenance of peace upon humiliating terms, and by 
means of repeated surrender of territory. 

The Duke of Gloucester, the most energetic and 
warlike of the king's uncles, made himself the exponent 
of popular opinion, for the assertion of which he placed 
himself at the head of a league of powerful nobles, who 
from respectful remonstrance gradually rose to an 
attitude of open defiance and hostility. The court party 

' See for an interesting illustration of these &cts Strutt's Regal and 
Ecclesiastical Antiquities. 

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A.D. was led by the king's favourite, Robert de Vere, Duke of 
13422^4®^ Ireland/ and was indirectly supported by Lancaster. 
The Earl of Northumberland held himself aloof from 
both extremes,* only departing from his neutral position 
to restrain by his counsel the violence of the malcontents 
or to exhort the king to the redress of grievances. Most 
conspicuous among the league of nobles, by the in- 
temperance of his language, was the Earl of Arundel, 
whom Northumberland was now commanded to arrest 
and to bring before the king's presence as a prisoner.^ 

The Earl proceeded to Reigate accordingly, but, either 
finding his rebellious kinsman too strong for him, or, 
as is not improbable, from sympathy with the cause, he 
returned without having accomplished his mission, and 
interceded with Richard for compromise and reconciliation. 

At a council held at Clarendon, on 13th September, he 
expressed the hope that " bon amour et amitie puissent 
estre establie entre le Roy et les Seigneurs de son conseil 
d'un part, et les ditz Due de Gloucester, le Comte de 
Arundel et le Comte de Warwick d*autre part" * 
Finding the king irresolute he proceeded to win him 
over by this appeal : 

" Sir, there is no doubt but these lordes who now be 
in the field alwaies have been your sure and faythful 
subjects, and yet are not intendying to attempt anything 
agaynst your state wealth and honor ; nevertheless 
they feel themselves sore molested and disquieted by 
the warlike devices of certain persons about your 
Maiestye, that seeke to oppress them ; and verilye 

' Gloucester had a personal grievance s^ainst Robert de Vere, who 
had married his niece and subsequently, without any fault on her part, 
but in order to form another alliance, repudiated and divorced her. 

• **The Earl of Northumberland and others refused to fight for the 
Duke of Ireland." — Knighton, ii. 698. 

3 Yj^odigma Neustria^ p. 353. 

4 Nicolas's Proceedings of the Privy Council, 


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without fayle, all your realme is sore grieved therewith, a.d. 
both great and small, as well lordes as commons, and ^386-1388 
I see not the contrarye, but they mind to adventure their 
lives with the lordes that are there in armes speciallie in 
this case which they reckon to be yours and your realmes. 
And Sir, now ye be in the cheefe place of your realme 
and in the place of your coronation, order yourself there- 
fore wiselye, and like a king! Send to them to come 
before your presence in some public place, where they 
can declare unto you the entent and purpose of their 
coming accompanied by so greete a nombre of people 
unto these partes, and I beleeve it verilye they will show 
such reasons that you will hold them excused" ' 

The earl's arguments were earnestly supported by 
the Archbishop of Canterbury and others, and the king 
finally yielded to their counsels. A meeting between 
him and the armed league of nobles took place at 
Westminster ; the court party was once more dis- 
comfited ; the obnoxious favourites fled, or were 
banished or imprisoned, and in the ensuing parliament February, 
the Earl of Northumberland joined in insisting upon '388. 
the redress of the grievances complained of, and the 
infliction of condign punishment upon the authors of 
these evils. 

As a member of the new council, he took a 
prominent part in reducing the royal power within what 
would now be called constitutional limits, in restraining 
him from " burthening the realm with a greater charge 
than was requisite," and from incurring expenditure 
which the council could not "justify to parliament."' 

In like manner, when Richard had caused letters to be 

« Holinshed. 

" These expressions occur in the course of a discussion on a proposal 
to increase the emoluments of the Earl Marshal, which is quoted in 
extenso in Nicolas's Proceedings of the Privy QmndL 


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A.D. written recognising the accession of the Pope elected on 

1342-1408 ^Y^^ death of Urban VL, the earl induced him to cancel 

these and to "nulle determiner de obeir le nouvel dit, 

mais qu*il attende pour avoir Tavis de tous les grandz de 

son royaume et de son peuple." ' 

Towards the end of this year Richard conferred upon 
Hotspur the custody of Carlisle and the wardenship of 
the West Marches, and shortly after made him a Knight 
of the Garter, in recognition of his services at the battle 
of Otterbourne, This honour had been previously 
conferred on the earl and his brother, and it may be 
doubted whether there can be found another instance, 
royalty excepted, of three members of the same family so 
nearly related being at the same time in the enjoyment 
of this distinction, in an age, too, when the order was only 
conferred for eminent public service. 

It is noteworthy that in the more ancient lists of 
Knights of the Garter created by their founder, 
Edward III., and by Richard II., the names of the three 
Percies do not occur, owing, it is evident, to the praf tice 
which then existed of expunging the records of knights 
who, like the Percies, had been removed from the order 
for attainder or forfeiture.'' That they were all three 

' Issue RollSi 20th Nov. 1389. 

' At a later period the names remained intact, but had the words 
Vah^ Proditorl appended to them. Ashmole, who wrote his History of 
the Garter in the reign of Charles IL, makes no mention of these 
Percies. Beltz, in his more accurately compiled Memorials^ after alluding 
to the negligence with which the earlier records of the order were kept, 
their destruction and dispersion during the dvil wars, and the practice of 
supplying omissions from memory, mentions a number of distinguished 
men, of whose membership there can be no doubt, who are excluded 
from Ashmole's lists. He adds, with reference to the omission of the 
names of the first Earl of Northumberland, his brother and son : " But 
for the recent discovery of the wardrobe accounts we should not now 
have been authorised to render this act of justice to their memory." 


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Knights Companion of the Garter is established by the a.d. 
entries in the wardrobe accounts, of mantles and robes of ^^^^'393 
the order presented to them,' as well as by the several 
descriptions of feasts of the order in which their names 
are repeatedly introduced. The date of the Earl of 
Northumberland's creation in 1365 — 6, as given in 
Beltz's Memorials^ is, however, open to question. It 
is most improbable that this honour should have been 
conferred upon him in the twenty-fourth year of his age, 
and during the lifetime, and to the exclusion, of his 
distinguished father. 

It may be concluded either that the Henry Percy then 
created was the third Lord of Alnwick, at whose decease 
the son may have been permitted to succeed to the 
vacant stall, or that his creation was of a later date, 
possibly not until after his elevation to the earldom.' 

During the remainder of Richard's reign the Percies 
were actively engaged in a multiplicity and variety of 
public employments. 

From 1386 to 1389, when sentence was finally 
pronounced, the Earl of Northumberland was the 
presyiing judge in the celebrated controversy ^ between 
Sir Richard Scrope and Sir Robert Grosvenor. In 1390 
he was appointed Governor of Calais, presided over the 

* The Earl of Northumberland's name appears in these accounts in 
no less than ten, and that of Sir Thomas Percy in three, different years 
during Richard's reign, as the recipient of robes of the order. — See 
Anstis's History of the Garter^ 1724. 

■ According to Beltz, the Earl and Sir Thomas Percy were respec- 
tively the 44th and 6oth of the sixty-three knights created by Edward III., 
and Hotspur the 15th of the thirty created by Richard II. ; the dates 
assigned to the three creations being 1365, 1376, and 1388. 

3 It is characteristic of the times that a question involving nothing of 
greater national importance than the right of a private gentleman to 
bear a certain emblem upon his coat-of-arms should have absorbed the 
public attention of all England, excited keen interest in continental 
states, and given rise to a judicial inquiry extending over a period of 
three years. Sir Harris Nicolas has published an exhaustive history of 
the case. 


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A.D. jousts there held, to which the Earl of Huntingdon had 
1342-1408 invited the flower of French chivalry, and thence pro- 
ceeded on a special mission to Paris. From this service 
he was recalled to the North of England to aid in the 
expulsion of the Scots who, taking advantage of the Lord 
Warden's absence, had overrun and devastated the East 

In 1394 the earl had endeavoured, by means of a direct 
negotiation with King Robert of Scotland, to establish a 
permanent peace with that country on theT basis of a 
marriage between the reigning families of the two 
kingdoms ; and in the following year he was the principal 
member of the more successful matrimonial mission, which 
resulted in King Richard's marriage with Isabel of 

Hotspur had in 1390 commanded a second expedition 
despatched for the purpose of raising the siege of Brest' 
In 1393 he presided at Carlisle in his capacity of 
governor over a combat, by royal license, between 
Richard de Redmayne, a Cambrian, and William de 
Halliburton, a Scot." In the same year he proceeded on 
a complimentary mission to King James of Cyprus, who 
in this high-flown language returns his thanks to Ridiard 
for having sent him so gracious an ambassador : 

J^icossiM^/uiy 15th, 1393. 
Jacobus Dei Gratia Jerusalem et Cypri Rex. 

Serenissime et illustrissime princeps frater carissime, 
salutem et fraternae dilectionis continuum incrementum ! 
. . . . Et super hoc quae nobilis consanguineus vester, 
dominus Henricus Percy, retulit vobis nos sibi fecisse 

« He had in the previous year been formally "retained in the king's 
service for life" with an annual allowance of jC^oo. — Grafton. 
• Fa^dera, vii. 745. 


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curialitatem et honorem (et de hoc nobis regratiamini) a.d. 1393 
frater carissime; ipse dixit sua curialitate et nobilitate 
quid sibi placuit, sed nos tenemus quod ipse nobis 
fecit maximum honorem nos visitasse, et sibi multum 

• • 

The Duke of Lancaster's appointment by Richard as 
Prince of Aquitaine and Gascony had been resented by 
the inhabitants of those provinces, who denied the king's 
right to demand of them a transfer of their allegiance 
from himself to another ruler ; and such was his unpopu- 
larity that when now Hotspur was appointed Governor 
of Bordeaux, he was refused admittance into the town 
until he succeeded in satisfying the authorities that he 
came as the representative of Richard, and not of the 
Duke whose nomination as their Prince they repudiated 
and cancelled. In the year following Henry Percy was 
made Governor of Berwick, and in 1396 served in his 
uncle's retinue in the brilliant escort despatched to Paris, 
to conduct the child-queen Isabel to Calais where Richard 
awaited his bride. 

His last recorded service in this reign was the con- 
clusion of a treaty of amity and alliance with George 
Dunbar, Earl of March.* 

Sir Ralph Percy, whom we last saw weltering in his 
blood on the field of Otterboume, gained much distinction 
by his successful defence of the West Marches when 
invaded by the Scotch during the Earl's absence in 
1390.3 Two years later he was sent on an embassy to 

* This curious specimen of royal correspondence is included in the 
collection of Extracts from Historical Papers and Letters from the 
Northern Registers (p. 425). 

• In connection with which he petitioned the King of England for 
safe conduct and grazing over many miles of meadows near Caldbrands- 
peth of two flocks of 1600 sheep belonging to the Scottish Countess of 
March and her sister. Harleian Charters^ Rot. Scot II. 

3 *• Laudabatur^ diiigebatur, et ore omnium pradicabatur^^ whereas in 
VOL. I. 161 M 

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A.D. Scotland, in payment of the wages and expenses of 

'^^fZ!^° which mission he was granted the moderate sum of 

£2(> \s. 3^.' We hear nothing more of him but that in 

1 399 he proceeded to Palestine, where he fell in an action 

with the Saracens. 

Sir Thomas Percy had in 1390 been appointed Vice 
Chamberlain and justiciary in Wales, but resigned the 
former office in the following year because, according to 
Froissart, of his determination not to become involved in 
the then prevalent Court intrigues : " that gentyl knight 
Sir Thomas Percy had been long soveraygn squyer of 
the kynges house, for all the state of the kynge passed 
through his handes. He then, consyderynge the greete 
hatereddes that encreased betweene the kynge and his 
Uncle of Gloscester, and among other grete Lordes of 
England, among whom he was beloved, like a sage 
knyghte he imagined that the conclusions coulde not be 
goode, so that he ^ve up his office as honorably as he 
coulde, and took leave of the kynge, and the kynge gave 
him leave sore agaynst his wyll." 

Two years later, however, he resumed his position at 
court in a higher office, that of Lord Steward, in which 
capacity he introduced Froissart to the king in 1395. 

consequence of the Earl not having been at his post when the imiptioQ 
was made " Magnum murmur excrtvit contra comitem " on the part of 
the plundered inhabitants. — Walsingham. 

» Issue Rolls ^ 15th Richard 11. In the same records of the following 
year we find this curious entry :— " To Stephen Percy, Clerk, sent from 
London to Queensborough Castle, there to ask for the King's great 
Crown and bring it from thence to Westminster to be delivered to the 
Lord the King for celebrating the solemnisation of the translation of 
Edward, the King and Confessor, in the Church of the blessed Peter 
Westminster on Oct. 13th last past. His wages and expenses of certain 
archers riding in his retinue and conduct of the same Crown and hire 
of horses, ;^2 41. \i\dy It is impossible to discover who this Percy 
is, but the family had by this time a great number of collateral branches 
all over England, 


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This accomplished French knight had been at Edward's a.d. 1395 
court in his youth, and his quaint description of his 
second visit to England, after an interval of nearly a 
quarter of a century, recalls Washington Irving s picture 
of the bewildered Hollander when, after twenty years' 
sleep, he returned to his native village : 

" I found no man of my knowledge, it was so long syth 
I had been in England, and the houses were all newly 
changed, and young children were become men, and the 
women knew me note nor I theym. Then I thought to 
jjo to the house of Sir Thomas Percy, great seneschal 
of Englande, who was then with the kynge, so I ac- 
quaynted me with hym, and I found him ryght honorable 
and gracyous, and he offered to present me and my letters 
to the kynge, whereof I was ryght joyfuU/' 

We are indebted to the pen of this knight for an 
authentic record of Sir Thomas Percy's proceedings 
when shortly after he was despatched, together with two 
colleagues, on a mission to the King of France. 

His account of what passed in the French capital 
500 years ago is so evidently the result of personal 
observation, that no other words could possibly convey 
an equally graphic and life-like description of the scene. 

"These knyghtes of Englande, Syr Thomas Percy, 
and other, alyghted in Paris in the streete called the 
Crosse at the sign of the Castle . . . and the nexte day 
about nyne of the clocke they lefte on their horses rj^ght 
honorably, and rode to the Castle of the Lowre (Louvre) 
to the kynge, where he, with his brother and his uncles 
were redye to receyve the Englische embassadours. . . . 
there they receyved theym honourably and broughte 
theym into the chambre where the kynge tarryed for 
theym ; then they did of (off) their bonettes and kneeled 
down. Sir Thomas Percy had the letters of credence 
that the Kynge of Englande had sent to the French 

163 M 2 

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AD. kynge. He delyvered them to the kynge, who tooke 
1342^^40 jheni, and caused the knyghtes to stand up. Then they 
stept somewhat bak. The kynge opened the letters and 
red them, and sawe well that they had credence. Then 
he called to hym his brother, and his uncles, and showed 
them the letters. Then his uncles said, * Syr, call forthe 
the knyghtes, and hear what they will saye.' Then 
they approached, and were commanded to declare their 
credence. Then Sir Thomas Percy spake and sayd : 
* Dere syr, the entencion of our soveraign lorde, the 
Kynge of Englande, is that he wolde gladly that such 
of his specyall counsayle as his uncles, Dukes of Lan- 
caster, Yorke, and Gloucester, and other prelates of 
Englande, such as his specyall trust is in, myght come 
into your presence and to your counsayle, as shortlye as 
myghte be, to treat for a manor of peace whereof he 
wolde be ryght joyfuU ; and for that entente wolde 
noyther spare his owne payne and labour, nor yet none of 
his men, noyther to come himselfe, or to send suffycient 
persons over the sea to the city of Amyence, or to any 
other place assygned.' Then the kynge answered and 
sayde : * Syr Thomas Percy, you and all your company 
are ryght heartilye welcome, and of your comyng and 
wordes we are ryght joyfuU. Ye shall tarry here in Paris 
a season, and we wyll speeke with our counsayle, and make 
you such convenable answer ere you departe, that it shall 
suffyce you.' With this answer the Englisshmen were 
well content. Then it was neer dyner tyme, and the 
Englisshmen were desyred to tary and dyne : and so the 
Lord of Coucy brought them into a chambre, and the 
Lord de la Riviere ; there they dyned at their leyser ; and 
after dyner they returned into the kynge's chambre, and 
there they had wyne and spyces, and then took their 

leave of the kynge, and went to their lodgynge 

These Englisshmen taryed at Paris vi days, and every 


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daye dyned with one of the Dukes of France ; and in a.d. 1395 
the meene season it was determyned that the French 
Kynge, his uncles, and the Privye Counsayle, shulde be 
at Amyance by the myddle of March next after, then to 
abyde the comynge of the Kynge of Englande, his 
uncles, and his counsayle, if they wulde com thyder ; and 
the Englisshe knyghttes sayd they made no dout but at 
the lest the Kynge of Englande's uncles shulde be at the 
day assygned at Amyance. This was the conclusion of 
this treatie. 

" The daye before that they shulde departe out of 
Paris, the kynge came to the palays where his uncles 
were, and then he made a dyner to the Englisshe 
knyghtes, and caused Syr Thomas Percy to sit at his 
borde, and called him cosyn, by reason of the Northum- 
berland blode ; ' at which dyner there was gyven to Sir 
Thomas Percy and the Englisshe knyghtes and squires 
grete gifts and fair jewels ; " but in gyving of them they 
over stypte Syr Robert Briquet,^ and Syr Peter Villers, 
chefe steward unto the French Kynge, delyvered the 
gyftes, and he sayd to Syr Robert Briquet, ' Syr, when you 
have done such servyse to the kynge, my master, as shall 

' It must be remembered that, independently of their common 
Carlovingian descent, Sir Thomas Percy was nearly related to the 
reigning house of France through his mother, Mary Plantagenet, 
a direct descendant of King Louis VIII. by his Queen, Blanche of 

• These did not probably represent any considerable money value, for 
Richard's gift, of which on this occasion Sir Thomas Percy was the 
bearer to the French King, is described **as a golde ring set with one 
diamond," for payment of which the sum of ;^26 13s. 4d. is authorised. 
Jssue Rolls, isth Richard 11. 

3 " He was a Frenchman bom, but alwayes he held himself Navarese 
and Englyshe, and as then he was one of the Kynge of Englande's Privy 
Chamber. The French Kynge dissimuled with him sagely, for when he 
spake with them always the Kynge would tume to Syr Thomas Percy or 
Sir Toys Clifforde." — Froissart The employment upon such a mission 
of a Frenchman by birth who had fought against his native country is 
not easily accounted for. 


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A.D. please hym, he is rych enough and puissant enough to 

i34«2f4o8 reward you/ With whiche wordes Syr Robert Briquet 

was sore abashed, and perceyved well thereby that 

the kynge loved him not, but he was fayne to 

suffre it." 

Not so Sir Thomas Percy, who would not without 
remonstrance permit a colleague, who, like himself, 
represented the King of England, to be affronted in the 
performance of his duty. 

" After dyner mynstrels began to play ; that pastyme 
once past, Syr Thomas Percy came to the kynge and 
said, ' Syr, I and my compayne have grete marvayl of 
one thing : that you have made us so goode cheere, and 
have gyven us so greate gifts, that Syr Robert Briquet 
hath nothynge, who is a knighte of our master's privie 
chamber. Syr, we desire to know the cause why ? ' 
Thereunto answered the French Kynge and sayde, 
* Syr, the knyghte that ye speak of, syth ye wyll know 
the matter, he hath no nede to be in a batayle agaynst 
me, for if he were taken prysoner his ransome shulde 
sune be payde,* and therewith the kynge entered into 
other communicacions. Then wyne and spyces were 
brought, and so took leave and returned to their lodynge 
and made a reconyng and payde for everything. The 
next day they departyd and spedde so on their journey 
that they arryved in Englande and showed the kynge 
and his uncfes how they had spedde, and greatly praysed 
the French Kynge and the cheere that he had made 
them, and showed off the gyftes and jewels that he had 
gyven them." 

The meeting at Amiens took place accordingly, the 
King of England being represented by the Dukes of 
York and Lancaster, who, accompanied by the Earl of 
Huntingdon and Sir Thomas Percy, " parted from Calys 
mo than xiic horse ; it was a goodlye syghte to see them 

1 66 

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ryde in good order," ' and as they approached the walls a.d. 1395 
of Amiens " the Duke of Burbon, the Lords Coucy and 
the Erie of Saynte Poule came to theym and so rode 
togyder with amorous wordes." 

The negotiations which ultimately resulted in a treaty 
of peace for four years were protracted, and on the 
departure of the princes continued to be conducted by 
Sir Thomas Percy and a French Commissioner. One 
of Percy's letters of this period to the Privy Council 
has been preserved,* and may be quoted as a specimen 
of diplomatic correspondence in the fourteenth century : 

"Tres reverents pers en Dieu et mes tres honores 
Seigneurs. Je me recomans a vous, et vous plese a 
savoyr que jay montr6 a mons. de Giayne les adysions 
de les artykles de Bretaynge, a lesquel il ce agr6 bien, 
mes il vodroyt voluntres savoyr a plus tost que il purroyt 
sy le Duk ^ se vodroyt acorder a les dit artiquels ou non, 
a cause que sy les Fransoys ne vorroyent comprendre le 
dit Duk com notre alye quel chose nous dusoms fere en 
selle cas. Car sy le Duk * susdit ne vorroyt acorder a 
nos artikels et tret6, et que pour amour de luy nous ne 
fesoyoms notre profit ovek les Fransoys, ce serroyt 
grandement notre damage par coy la volunt6 de 
Monseigneur serroyt de savoyr la volunte de dit Duk a 
plus tost que ce purra bonement estre fet. 

*' Je ne say plus dire a sest foy mes que je prie a luy 
tout puysant que vous doynt mes tres honores seigneurs 
bone vie et longe. Escrit a Doure le Dymange de 

* Capgrave's Chronicle, 

» Cott. MSS., Julius, B. vi. Fol. 66. 

3 This refers to our ally John, Duke of Brittany, who had married first 
a daughter of Edward III. and secondly a daughter of the Earl of Kent, 
half-sister to Richard II. 

^ It is characteristic of the orthography of this, 'as of much later 
periods, that the same words are frequently spelt in a variety of ways in 
one and the same document This applies even to proper names of 
persons and places. 

VOL. I. 167 

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A.D. Demy Caresme. Quant est de notre pasage le portour 
1342-1408 jg sestes vous en dirra tout. 

" Le votre, 

"T[homas] Percy." 

Addressed : — A tres reuerent pe[re en] Dieu et mes tres 
honn[re Srs] le Chanseler et Tresorer. 

Richard's queen, Anne of Bohemia, died in this year, 
and it is said to have been for the purpose of distracting 
his sorrow at her loss that he fitted out an expedition 
on a large scale for subduing the troubles in Ireland. 
The Earl of Northumberland, with his son and brother ' 
and a ^brilliant retinue, accompanied him ; but in the 
following year the king sought a more gentle solace for his 
grief The first overtures for the alliance with Isabel of 
France, which Sir Thomas Percy had been authorised to 
make, had not been favourably received, the extreme 
youth of the Princess " and the fact of her hand having 
been promised to the Dilke of Brittany, being made the 
grounds of refusal. A second embassy under the Earl 
of Northumberland in 1396 was however more success- 
ful, and in the autumn of that year the two kings met in 
person "and pieched their tents fast by Calays,"^ four 
hundred English and the same number of French knights 
mounting guard with drawn swords, in the space inter- 
- vening between the two royal pavilions. On this occa- 
sion Northumberland was one of the four English Earls 
appointed to wait upon the French king. 

This marriage was made the foundation of a treaty of 
peace for twenty-five years, from the expiration of the 

' Sir Thomas Percy was in chief command of the fleet, and had 
hcHSted his flag on board the Trinity. — Rot Fat^ 17 Richard II. 

^ She was then in her sixth year, and Richard was only two years 
younger than his future father-in-law. 3 Capgrave's ChronuU. 


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existing truce ; one of the conditions of which was the a.d. 1397 
surrender of Brest and Cherbourg. The king's council ^^ 
seems to have been kept in ignorance of the terms of 
this treaty, which on becoming known aroused a storm 
of indignation throughout England. 

During the greater part of the preceding reign the 
people had cheerfully contributed their blood and their 
treasure for the prosecution of those aggressive wars 
which gratified the prevalent thirst for military glory 
and extended dominion. 

They now witnessed with dismay the gradual decay of 
that commanding influence abroad which Edwards 
conquests had established at so heavy a cost, and were 
little disposed to continue such sacrifices, as they saw 
their dearly-bought possessions in France slipping from 
their grasp one by one. The wound to national vanity 
was not even assuaged by pecuniary relief, for the public 
expenditure was greater than ever, and they who had 
cheerfully borne the heavy burden of successful war now 
groaned under the unlightened weight of an inglorious 
and humiliating peace.* 

Gloucester as usual became the mouthpiece of popular 
discontent, which was aggravated by a rumour of negotia- 
tions for the sale of Calais to the French king being in 

Richard, once more roused to an effort at self-assertion, 
determined to emancipate himself from the control of 
his council, but, knowing the weakness of his cause and 

» Shakespeare makes the Earl of Northumberland thus express the 
national feeling on Richard's wasteful expenditure of the revenue of 
England : — 

" Wars have not wasted it, for warred he hath not, 
But basely yielded upon compromise 
That which his noble ancestors achieved with blows ; 
More hath he spent in peace than they in wars." 

— Richard IJ.^ Act ii. Scene i. 

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A.D. the temper of his adversaries, he took the precaution of 
134^40 observing all the outward forms of law and precedent 
It required then but a slight degree of manipulation to 
enable the sheriffs of counties to create a legislature accord- 
ing to royal command ; and the parliament which now 
assembled at Nottingham was as subservient and ductile 
as the most despotic sovereign could desire. The various 
statutes which had been enacted to limit the royal pre- 
rogative were reviewed, and condemned as illegal. All 
the acts passed in 1388 were revoked and their authors 
and abettors were seized, tried, and sentenced for high 
treason. The Earl of Arundel was beheaded on Tower 
Hill,' and Gloucester having been placed in the custody 
of John Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham, at Calais, was 
secretly put to death. The league of nobles was 
completely broken up, the power of the king was 
declared to be virtually absolute, and parliament was 
dissolved after having elected a committee of twelve 
lords (of whom Northumberland was one) and six 
commoners, whom they endowed with authority to finish 
all business which they had not had time to transact 

In these proceedings Sir Thomas Percy, who had 
hitherto taken little part in domestic politics, sided with 
the king, to whom this adherence was of exceptional 
importance, since in addition to his personal influence 
it secured his vote as the chosen, representative in 
parliament of the whole body of the clergy. On their 
first assembling in this year "the Commons requested 
that the clergy might appoint a procurator to represent 

* No fresh crime had been charged against him. He suffered for an 
alleged offence for which in the Parliament of 1388 he had received the 
royal pardon. On his attainder a great part of his lands was bestowed 
upon John Holland, Duke of Exeter, who now petitioned that the 
homages and services heretofore rendered to the Earl of Arundel by the 
Earl of Northumberland, as holder in capite of Petworth, should be 
rendered to him. — /sst4€ Rolls^ 21 Richard 11. See Appendix XVIII. 


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them, and they accordingly elect M. Thomas de Percy a.d. 1397 
knight to whom they commit full power, so that what- 
ever shall be done by him in the premises should be 
received at all future times." * 

All the statutes in this parliament are thus recorded 
as having been enacted by "the lords temporal and 
Sir Thomas de Percy,*' * who in the following September 
was created Earl of Worcester.^ 

The Earl of Northumberland, although he supported 
the king s authority, took a far less conspicuous part in 
this parliament than his brother. He did not vote for the 
death of Arundel, but on the contrary interceded to 
obtain a remission of the sentence.* The execution of 
this nobleman for an offence for which ten years before 
he had /eceived a full pardon had excited much 
sympathy for the victim, and Richard himself, who was 
not by nature cruel, was now haunted by remorse for 
this ill-judged act of severity. His sleep was broken by 
visions of the dead earl which appeared at his bedside 
night after night, with threatening gestures,' and of 
whose death, according to popular belief, Providence had 
marked its reprobation by reuniting the severed head to 
the body. To allay his superstitious fears the king 
now required Northumberland to proceed to the church 

» ^olls of Parliament^ 21 Richard II. 

* The concluding clause of the act of impeachment of Thomas 
Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, runs thus : — " Wherefore the king, 
and all the lords temporal, and Monsieur Thomas Percy, having 
sufficient power from the prelates and clergie, . . . judged and declared 
him a traytour." — Brady's History of England. 

3 The patent is dated 29 September, 1398. The Duke of Lancaster's 
son was at the same time created Earl of Derby, and the Earl of 
Nottingham, in recognition of his recent secret services at Calais, Duke 
of Norfolk. 

4 Gmfion's Chronicle. 

s •* Post cujus mortem. Rex diversis imaginibus in somnis est turbatus ; 
videbatur nempe umbra comitis, mox ut dormire coepisset, ante oculos 
suos volitare, minarique sibi, et eum indicibiliter deterrere." — 
Walsingham, ii. p. 225. 


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A.D. of the Augustine Friars in Moorgate Street, where his 

13422^40 victim was interred, and to satisfy himself by personal 

inspection whether the alleged miracle was founded in 

fact/ This was the last duty performed by the Earl of 

Northumberland in the service of King Richard. 

The circumstances attending the death of Gloucester 
did not transpire until after the accession of Henry IV., 
and even then it did not clearly come to light who had 
been the actual instigators of the crime." That Mowbray 
should, upon his own responsibility have caused his 
prisoner to be murdered is not credible, and the authority 
for the commission of such a deed could only have 
emanated from the king or from Lancaster. The latter 
was personally so unpopular that suspicion would natur- 
ally attach to him, and the notable quarrel between the 
Dukes of Hereford and Norfolk was not improbably 
• connected with a desire on the part of the former to 
vindicate his father against the charge of Gloucester's 
murder. The decision to refer the issue to trial of 
battle, the king's subsequent prohibition of the combat, 
and the banishment of the disputants are matters of 
history, a picturesque version of which has been 
popularised by Shakespeare.^ It was not without 
difficulty that Lancaster succeeded in so far mitigating 
the sentence passed upon his son as to obtain letters 
patent authorising him to constitute attorneys to receive 
any estates that might fall to him. A recollection of 
these facts is necessary for the comprehension of the 

» " Qui corpus ejus efibdi faceret, et aspiceret si caput corpori esset 

junctum, prout fama communis erat" — Wdsingham, Hist Angl. iL 226. 

"Most contemporary writers are of opinion that Nottingham had 

received direct orders from the king to put Gloucester to death. 

"Rex jussit Comiti Marescallo ut eum occulte occideret." — Md, 

3 The passages referring to these events in his Richard IL form a 
truthful, though somewhat idealised, epitome of the various accounts of 
contemporary historians. 


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subsequent attitude assumed by the Percies. Henry a.d. 1399 
BoHngbroke, as he was commonly called, was, next to 
Hotspur, perhaps, the most popular among England's 
young nobles,' and his banishment created a national 
outcry. On the eve of his embarkation, *' there came to 
him the Earl of Northumberland and Sir Henry Percy' 
his son, with a greete nombre of other knyghtes and 
squyers of Englande, such as loved him, and were soore 
displeased that he must avoyde the relme," ^ while the 
populace pursued him with tears and lamentations : 
" * Gentle Earl, why shall we leave you ? Ye never dyd 
nor thought yvell,* thus men and women piteously spoke.** * 
Richard's emancipation from parliamentary control 
was as detrimental to the Commonwealth as it ultimately 
proved fatal to himself. To gratify his wastefulness 
and the rapacity of his favourites he illegally imposed 
the most oppressive taxes, and on the death of the Duke 4 February. 
of Lancaster, he revoked the letters patent he had granted 

* He had been much engaged in Continental warfare, and had fought 
not only the French and the Spaniards, but the Mohammedan in Barbary 
and the Pagan tribes of the Baltic in Lithuania. He was one of the 
band of young knights among whom Ralph Percy had embarked for 
the Holy Land, but had stopped short at Rhodes. He had joined 
Gloucester's league against Richard, but made his peace in time to 
escape the consequences, and subsequently showed himself zealous in 
the king's service. 

« Shakespeare represents Henry Bolingbroke after his landing at 
Ravenspur as meeting Hotspur for the first time : — 

" North. Have you forgot the Duke of Hereford, boy ? 

Percy, No, my goode lorde, for that is not forgot 
Which ne'er I did remember ; to my knowledge, 
I never in my life did look on him. 

North, Then learn to know him now ; this is the duke ! ** 

— Richard II. Act ii. Scene 3. 

The poet's supposition, that Hotspur should have been unacquainted with 
his companion in arms and kinsman, was probably due to a misappre- 
hension on his part as to the ages of the two men, which will be found 
referred to hereafter. 

3 Froissart. 4 Ibid. 


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A.D. to his banished son, on the pretext that they had been 
1342-^40 issued " without due advice or mature deliberation ; " he 
confiscated his lands, and extended the sentence already 
passed to perpetual banishment, on a vague charge of 
his having held intelligence with the king's enemies 

This act of injustice and bad faith offended and 
alienated many of the powerful nobles, and among 
others the Earl of Northumberland and his son, who, 
after a vain remonstrance in favour of the rights of 
their absent kinsman, left the court and retired into the 

Summoned shortly after to appear before the king, who 
had been advised to *' collect them by pryson or other- 
wyse," for having accused him of governing foolishly and 
of being under the influence of evil counsellors, they 
pleaded that the state of the border did not admit of 
their absenting themselves at that time. According to 
Froissart they took this course under the advice of 
Thomas Percy who, cognisant of the king s intentions, 
warned them not to trust themselves into his power, and 
** stopped their coming not without good cause, for they 
were showed that if they came they were in ieopardie of 
their lyves." Sentence of banishment and confiscation 
was then passed upon them. 

**This was published throughout all the cyties and 
good townes of Englande and specyallye in London, 
whereof the Londoners had grete marvayle, and they 
culde not know for what cause it was ; for the Erie and 
his son were reputed for noble and vallyant men as any 
within the reelme, and they sayde, peradventure the 
Erie and his sonne have spoken some wordes upon the 
kynge and his counsayle, for the yvil governying of the 
realme, and culde not be hearde though they sayde the 
truthe, and for their thus saying now they be punished ; 


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but we thinke hereafter they wyll be punished who judge a.d. 1399 
them." * ~ 

The King of Scotland offered the Earl and his son 
honourable reception at his court, until the sentence of 
banishment should be revoked, but they appear to have 
remained within their own territories. 

It is probable that Richard was glad of a rational 
pretext for escaping the complications in which he found 
himself involved. 

Roger Earl of March, the heir apparent to the throne, 
had in the beginning of this year fallen in a skirmish 
with the Irish, and the king now took personal command 
of an expedition fitted out to revenge the death of his 
brave kinsman. Worcester was appointed Admiral of 
the Fleet, and embarked at Milford Haven early in May 
with a retinue of *\thirty-five knights, squires and men at 
arms, and 100 mounted archers, and to each archer one 
carpenter and one mason." In the meanwhile Henry 
Bolingbroke had no sooner heard of his father's death, 
and of the act which deprived him of his hereditary 
rights, than gathering together a few friends and a small 
military force he embarked for England touching at 
different points on the coast, to proclaim his wrongs and 
win adherents, till he finally landed at Ravenspur. Here 4 July, 
"there mette with hym the Erie of Northumberland 
with a grete power to helpe and succoure the said Duke, 
that cam for none other entent as he satde than to chalange 
the Duchie of Lancaster his enheritancej' ^ 

With the progress of events however Lancaster's 
attitude became more menacing; and when Richard, 

» Froissart. 

* Indenture between King Richard II. and the Earl of Worcester, 
9th April, 1399. Le Neve*s MS. Penes, fol. 3. 

3 The knglisshe Chronicle of the deigns of Richard II. and Henry /F., 
published by the Camden Society. 


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A.D. hurrying back from Ireland, landed at Milford Haven 
i34^j-i4oS ^^^ found how universal the defection from his cause 
had become, he scarcely made an attempt to stem the 
tide of his unpopularity.. One by one his few remaining 
adherents fell from him ; his appeal to the counties for 
military aid ' remained unanswered, and so hopeless did he 
at length consider his chances of successfully asserting 
his authority, that he commanded his lord steward to 
dismiss the royal household, relieved him from further 
attendance ' and with only a few followers took refuge in 
Conway Castle. 

Modern research has failed to throw much new light 
upon this chapter of English history, or to enable us to 
trace the motives of the principal actors in the scenes 
attending Henry of Lancaster's usurpation. Of his own 
ultimate duplicity there can be no question ; but it is by no 
means established that when he landed in England he had 
any intentions beyond those which he openly professed- 
Such evidence as exists rather points to Richard's 
irresolution, and the general defection from his cause, as 
suggesting to Henry's ambitious mind the idea of 
snatching the sceptre from his kinsman's feeble grasp. 
He must have known, however, that the premature 
declaration of such a project would have defeated its 
accomplishment by depriving him of the support of those 

* The Earl of Northumberland was included among ** the faithful 
lieges " whom the king now called upon to aid him in the maintenance 
of his authority against the threatened danger. — Fotdera^ viii., p. 85. 

* The Earl of Worcester has been charged with having deserted the 
king in the hour of adversity ; even his friend Froissart speaks doubt- 
fully on the point : " Syr Thomas Percy broke his white staffe either 
being so commanded by the kj^nge, or else upon displeasure (as some 
write) that the kynge had proclaimed his brother the Earl of Northumber- 
land traytor." Wdsingham, however, who as a rule is far from partial 
to the Percies, states distinctly that Richard had commanded the lord 
steward to dismiss his household, *' Dimisit igitur fanUliamy monens per 
Senescailumy Dominum Thomam Percy ^ ut se reservarent ad tempora 


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English nobles, who were ready to stand by him for the a.d. 1399 
restoration of his legitimate rights but by no means 
disposed to acknowledge his claims to the throne. The 
Percies were above all others interested in maintaining 
the existing dynasty in favour of the heir apparent 
They were ready to take part in measures of coercion to 
re-establish their influence in the royal council, but they 
could not have contemplated Richard's deposition in 
favour of one whose father's pretensions to the crown 
they had ever repudiated and opposed. Henry accord- 
ingly continued to dissemble, and submitted to take 
the solemn oath which limited his armed resistance 
to the attainment of his professed objects. He thus 
succeeded in averting suspicion, and in making the 
Percies and others the unconscious instruments of his 
unscrupulous designs/ When, finally, he threw off the 
mask ; when, in bold disregard of all his pledges he 
proclaimed himself King of England, they were not 
strong enough successfully to dispute his pretensions, 
and the protests of the duped nobles were drowned in 
the shouts of popular acclamation amidst which Henry 
of Lancaster ascended the throne. The Earl of 
Northumberland, his son and his brother, remonstrated, 
and then submitted to the inevitable. It would doubt- 
less have been more dignified had they now, instead of 
condoning the act by taking service under the usurper, 
recorded their protest and retired from a court the legiti- 
macy of which they were not disposed to acknowledge. 
Circumstances however were little encouraging to such a 
course, for throughout the greater part of England Henry's 
accession to the throne was hailed with enthusiasm.' 

* ** Northumberland, the ladder upon which 

The mounting Bolingbroke ascends the throne." 

— Richard //., Act v.. Scene i. 

^ The attachment to Richard survived longer in the northern 

VOL. I. 177 N 

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A.D. Richard's abdication once an accomplished fact, the 

13422^408 attempt to put forward the claims of his infant heir 
would have plunged the country into civil war, and sub- 
jected the Percies to a suspicion of seeking their own 
personal aggrandisement by the exercise of the Royal 
power during the long minority of their kinsman/ They 
accordingly accepted the position, while Henry in return 
overwhelmed them with honours and gifts ; but the seeds 
of mistrust and suspicion were already sown. The 
Percies could not forget that they had been duped, and 
that their good name had been tarnished in the process. 
As litde could Henry forget the heavy debt he had 
incurred towards those powerful subjects ; and a sense 
of humiliating injury on the one part, and of oppressive 
obligation on the other, afforded little promise ot 
prolonged harmony. 

It is remarkable that we should be mainly indebted 
to foreign sources for the personal details connected with 
King Richard's deposition. Walsingham it is true has a 
good deal to say on the subject, but the *' tU vulgariter 
dicitur^^ with which he is ever apt to qualify his 
doubtful statements, becomes of more than ordinary 
frequency in these passages, and most of the old 
historians have drawn upon him for their facts. 
In three French works we have however the evidence 
of actors in, or eye-witnesses of, the scenes described. 
The first of these is a MS., the authorship of which is 
attributed to a French knight in the service of the Earl 

counties than elsewhere ; it was there said that Henry had been made 
king by ''the villains of London/' among whom his popularity was 

' Edmund Mortimer, the only son of the sth Earl of March, was in 
his sixth year at the time of Lancaster's usurpation. 


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of Huntingdon,' the second is a metrical chronicle by a a.d. 1399 
gentleman of France who accompanied King Richard on 
his last expedition to Ireland and remained with him 
until his removal to the Tower ; * the third is our old 
friend Froissart The metrical chronicle is written 
with a strong bias in favour of Richard, and the author 
admits having occasionally supplemented the necessities 
of his verse by drawing upon his imagination.^ Those 
events which he personally witnessed are accordingly 
represented in a light ever favourable to Richard ; those 
scenes, on the other hand, at which he could not have 
been present, such as Lancaster's instructions to North- 
umberland on the subject of the mission of the latter to 
Conway Castle, must be taken with ample allowance 
for poetic license, if not as altogether imaginary. As 
a record, however, of Richard's personal demeanour from 
his landing at Milford Haven to his departure from 
Flint Castle, there is nothing extant more reliable or 
more graphically illustrative of the king's character. 
The work is altogether a very remarkable one, and the 

» MS. Ambassadesy No. 22, Beluze Collection, in the King's Library 
at Paris. 

• Butoire du Roy d'Angkterre Richardy traitant parttculierement la 
rebellion de ses subiectz et prinse de sa fersotmc. Compost par un 
gentilhomme franfois de marque^ qui fut a la suite du dit Roy, avecq per^ 
mission du Roy de France^ i399- Strutt, in his Antiquities, reuders this 
" French gentleman of mark " as " Francois de la Marque, a French 
gentleman." A beautifully illuminated copy on vellum of this curious 
MS, is preserved (Harl. MSS., No. 13 19,) in the British Museum. 
The figures in the illustrations are valuable as portraits. An excel- 
lent translation of the chronicle, with reproductions of the drawings and 
copious notes by the Rev. John Webb, was published in Archceologia. 

vol. XX. 

3 When about to describe the events attending Richard's captivity he 
detennines to drop into prose with a view to greater accuracy — 

" Car il semble, 
Aucune foiz qu'on adiouste, on assemble 
Trop de langaige 
A la mati^re de quoy on fait Touvrage." 

179 N 2 

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A.D. opening lines deserve quotation as a specimen of its 

" Au departir de la froide saison, 
Que printemps a fait reparagon 
De verdur, et quau champ et maint buisson 
Voit on flourir ; 

Et les oyseaux doulcement resioir ; 
Le roussignol peut on chanter oir, 
Qui maint amant fait souvent devenir 
Joyeux et gay ; 

Cinq jours devant le premier jour de May, 
Que diacun doit laisser dueil et esmay, 
Un chevalier, que de bon coeur amay 
Moult doucement, 

Me dit : Amy, je vous pri charement 
Qu*en Albion vueillez joyeusement 
Avecques moy venir, prochainement 
Y vueil aller. 

Je respondi : Monscigneur, commander 
Povez sur moy ; je suis pres d'encliner 
Ma volont^ a votre bon penser ; 
N'cn doutez ja." 

The author proceeds to relate how he joined Richard 
on the eve of his embarkation for Ireland, and their 
landing at Waterford on ist June. He sketches some 
excellent outlines of Irish warfare, and describes the 
king's abrupt return to England on receiving the tidings 
of Lancaster's arrival, the dismissal of his household, 
and his flight to Conway Castle. Here the Earl of 
Northumberland is brought upon the scene, who, we 
are told, assured Henry of Lancaster, in reply to his 
injunctions not to return without the king, that he would 
bring him " by reason or by craft;"' that he had set forth 
from Chester with 400 lances and 1000 archers, and that 
having by the way seized and garrisoned the castles of 
Flint and Rhuddlan, and left a strong body concealed 
in a pass a few miles from Conway under command 
of Sir Thomas Erpingham,* he sent a messenger to 

* '* Par sens ou par cautelle je lamenray." 

* Who sixteen years later opened the battle of Agincoort 


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Richard praying for an interview as Lancaster's envoy. a.d. 1399 
The request was granted upon condition that he came 
unattended/ In the illustration of this scene North- 
umberland is represented kneeling before the -king* 
dressed in a long robe of blue dotted with golden stars. 
The face is somewhat long, with handsome features and 
a pointed beard. 

Being required to deliver his message, the Earl says 
in effect that Henry of Lancaster desired nothing more 
than the lands and dignities which by hereditary right 
belonged to him ; that he acknowledged Richard as his 
rightful king, but accused him of having misgoverned 
the country and done much injustice to his people. If 
he would restore Lancaster to his possessions, be " a 
good judge and true" in the future, and consent to 
deliver the Dukes of Exeter and Surrey, the Earl of 
Salisbury, the Bishop of Carlisle and Ma^delin^ the 

' According to most of the old historians it was at the king's own 
request that Northumberland was sent to negotiate terms between him- 
self and Lancaster. Upon this point, however, the evidence of the 
French knight — an eye-witness of the interview — is conclusive. 

' In his Richard IL Shakespeare has generally adhered so closely to 
historical authority that it is difficult to account for his having attributed 
a disrespectful demeanour to Northumberland in his interview with the 
king, who is made to say : — 

" We are amazed ; and thus long have we stood 
To watch the fearful bending of thy knee, 
Because we thought ourselves thy lawful king ; 
And if we be, how dare thy joints forget 
To pay their awful duty to our presence ? ** 

3 The king's favourite chaplain, and one of the most dangerous and 
unscrupulous of his creatures ; he was reported to be a natural son of 
the Black Prince, and bore so remarkable a resemblance to Richard, 

" Qu'il n'est homme qui le vist, 
Qu'il ne certifies! et dist 
Que ce fu le roy ancien." 

Some writers state that the body subsequently exposed in London as 
being King Richard's was that of Maudelin ; this report was probably 
spread to confirm the belief in RicEard's survival, which was long 
professed by Henry's enemies. 



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A.D. priest, to be tried by parliament for their complicity in 
'34^40^ Gloucester's murder, then he would "humbly on his 
knees sue for mercy." Richard had never shown any 
reluctance to sacrifice his friends to his own comforter 
safety, and now offered no opposition to the proposed 
surrender of his few faithful adherents. Before accept- 
ing these terms, however, he, at the instance of the 
Bishop of Carlisle, required Northumberland to take a 
solemn oath ' that Lancaster would conscientiously fulfil 
his engagements. This the Earl unhesitatingly did ; * and 
there is no reason to doubt that, however resolved he 
may have been to obtain possession of the king's person, 
he then believed in the sincerity of Lancaster's pro- 
fessions, and did not for a moment contemplate the 
treachery which ensued. The chronicler, however, 
charges him with deliberate perjury.^ At the same time 
he convicts Richard of the grossest duplicity, by attri- 
buting to him these words addressed to the Bishop and 
Salisbury : *' I swear to you that whatever assurance I 
may give him (it is not quite clear whether the king 
here refers to Lancaster or Northumberland), he shall 

« The illustration represent^, the Earl kneeling before an altar in the 
act of taking the oath. V.A 

* Shakespeare in a few lines epitomises Northumberland's address to 
the king, which concludes with an expression of his full confidence in 
Lancaster's sincerity : — 

" This swears he, as he is a prince, is just ; 
And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him/* 

3 The translator also, in his commentary, denounces " the deep and 
daring dissimulation of Northumberland,'^ which he can only palliate on 
the ground that in that age ** the grossest perjury was lightly thought of 
and unblushingly committed in England ; " adding that " the abuses of 
absolution by the Church perniciously weakened the effect of such bonds 
of conscience." He subsequently, however, does the Earl the justice 
to admit that, '*like many others who have attempted to effect violent 
political changes, he had been deceived, hurried beyond his original 
designs, and by force of circumstances compelled to yield to Henry s 
acts, and finally to fall before his superior power." Hume, in his 
History of England^ takes the same view. 


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for this be surely put to a bitter death for the outrage a.d. 1399 
and injury he hath done unto us ; and doubt it not, no 
parliament shall be held at Westminster upon this 
business." This is fully confirmed by the MS. Antbas- 
sades, where it is stated that after the king's acceptance 
of the proposals of Henry of Lancaster, he remarked 
to his friends : 

"It seems to me that a good peace may be made 
between us two if it be as the Earl says. But in truth, 
whatever agreement or peace he may make with me, if 
I can get him to any advantage I will cause him to be 
foully put to death, just as he hath earned."' On the 
acceptance of the terms the Earl urged the king to set 
out on his journey to Flint Castle, where it was arranged 
that Lancaster should meet him ; to which Richard 
replied, " We can set out when you will, but I think it 
ryght that you should go on before to Rhuddlan that 
dinner may be prepared there." *' Just as you please," 
replied the Earl, and departed.^ ** The Earl rode on till 
he saw his men under the mountain, and then was he 
well pleased when he saw that they were careful with 
good order to guard the pass. So he related to them the 
whole matter, how he had succeeded and that the king 
would presently come to them." 

As it was obviously impossible for a gentleman in 
Richard's retinue at Conway to know what was passing 
in Northumberland's encampment some miles in advance, 
this may be taken as one of our knight's poetic flights, 
but there is much obscurity in the whole of this stage of 
the proceedings. The king, who set forth with twenty- 
one attendants, is described as suddenly, on reaching a 

« ^^Je leferc^ mourir mauvaisementy ainsi comme il a gaognie^^ 

* In the Ambassades MS. we are told that the Earl had himself 

proposed his riding in advance in order to prepare for the interception 

of the king. 


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A.D. rocky eminence/ coming in sight of a body of armed 
iZ4^-iAoS men in the valley below. '* When he beheld them he was 
greatly astonished, saying *I am betrayed, what can 
these be ? Lord of Heaven, help me ! * Then were 
they known by their banners. ' I think,' said he, * it is 
the Earl who hath drawn us forth upon his oath.' " 

It is not intelligible why Northumberland, having 
found the king perfectly willing to accompany him to 
Flint Castle, should have alarmed him on the way by an 
unnecessary display of military force. If he had reasons, 
however, for preparing an ambush, he would surely have 
kept his troops out of sight, instead of permitting them 
to appear with his banners flying, at such a distance as 
would have enabled Richard on seeing the danger, to 
retrace his steps to Conway. The king proceeded, 
however, we are told, on his way, and when he came 
within bowshot of the party, the Earl * advanced to meet 
him, and " kneeling quite to the ground," said, " Be not 
displeased that I should come to seek you for your better 
security, for the country as you know is disturbed by 

Richard reproached him with breach of faith, said he 
could dispense with such an escort and spoke of return- 
ing to Conway; but Northumberland justified himself 

» The spot is supposed to have been on the Welsh cliffs a few miles 
to the eastward of Orme's Head, 

" Under whose craggy government there was 
A niggard narrow way for men to pass ; 
And here, in hidden cliffs, concealed lay 
A troop of armed men to intercept 
The unsuspecting king, that had no way 
To free his foot that into danger stept 
The dreadful ocean on the one side lay. 
The hard encroaching mountain th'other kept" 

Daniel's Civtl Wars, 

» The illustration represents Northumberland at the head of a body 
of troops, dressed in coat of mail and carrying a battle-axe. 


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and promised to conduct the king straightway to Duke a.d. 1399 
Henry.' The king now vented his grief and anger in 
an outburst, in which pious sentiments and personal 
lamentations are curiously blended with curses upon his 
enemies : 

" Mais sil plait que ie muire, 

A I Jesu Christ ! mame vueille conduire 

En paradis ! car echapper ne fuire ' 

Je ne puis 

Or est trop tard ; las I pourquoy creumcs nous 

Northumbrelan^ qui en la main des loups 
» Nous a livrez ? Je me doute que tous 

Ne soions mors. 

Car eels gens cy nont en eux nul remors. 

Dieu leur confonde les ames et les corps I " 

Occasionally, however, Richard rises from these 
depths of despondency to the hopes of a brighter future 
when, re-established in his full regal authority and power, 
he will be enabled to revenge himself upon his foes even 
to flaying them alive.* The only self reproach he utters 

' ** Lors dit le Comte, Monseigneur, 
Deshonneurs ne mettez sus ; 
Mais je vous jure je vous menray 
Au Due Henry le plus droit que pourray." 

The writer of the Ambassades MS. gives a different version : — " The 

Earl of Northumberland then came up with xi others, saying * Now I 

. am come to meet you.* The king asked who the people were whom he 

saw below in the valley. * I have seen none,' said Northumberland. 

* Look before you, then,' said the Earl of Salisbury ; * there they are.' 

* They are your men,' said the Bishop ; * I know your banner.' — 

* Northumberland,' said the king, * if I thought you capable of betraying 
me it is not yet perhaps too late for me to return to Conway.' * You 
shall not return thither,' said Northumberland, throwing off the mask 
and seizing the bridle of the kin^s horse, * I shall conduct you to the 
Duke of Lancaster, for / do not break all my promises.' " 

The chronicler, who was an eye-witness of the scene, would certainly 
have recorded the violent action attributed to the Earl had it taken 
place, but, on the contrary, he represents him as studiously respectful. 
The concluding sentence may be read according to the emphasis either 
as a distinct admission on Northumberland's part of his duplicity, or as 
an insulting reflection upon Richard's habitual want of truthfulness. 

^ " lis seront a la mort mis 

De telz je feray escorcher tous vifs." 


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A.D. is for having been so weak as to have spared Lancaster's 
1342-^408 jj£^ Qj^ several occasions, when it had been justly forfeit- 
ed for his offences ; as when he drew his sword upon him 
in the queen's chamber, leagued against him with 
Gloucester, and conspired to murder him. But he had 
spared him even against th^ advice of the old Duke 
himself, who thought his son deserved to die ; ' and now 
he had learnt " how true it is that we have no greater 
enemy than the man we save from the gallows."* 

No sooner did Lancaster receive the welcome tidings 
of Richard's arrival at Flint Castle than he broke up his 
' camp at Chester and advanced with a body of 80,000 
men, anrong whom were the Earl of Worcester and 
Hotspur with their contingents.* The French knight 
describes the sense of hopeless grief under which the 
poor king from the terrace of the castle beheld this 
splendid army defiling along the sea-shore. Lancaster's 
demeanour towards the king on their first meeting was 
marked by profound respect. "As soon as he perceived 
him at a distance he bowed very low, and as they ap- 
proached he bowed a second time with his cap in his hand ; 
and then the king took off his bonnet and spoke first in 
this manner : * Fair Cousin of Lancaster, you be right 
welcome.' Both men were acting a part, and each knew 
it, but it was not for long. On Richard's arrival at 
Chester, he was placed under a military guard, and now 
it was that Lancaster took the precaution of disarming 

' This is quite incredible. It was for the sake of this son, whom he 
had always loved, and grief at whose banishment is said to have hastened 
his end, that John of Gaunt had persistently intrigued against the 
Mortimers for the heirship of the English crown. He personally could 
hardly have expected to supplant or to outlive Richard. 

* MS. Ambassades, 

3 According to the Chronicle^ Hotspur was in chief command of 
Lancaster's army: **De tout Tost du Due estoit principal Capitaine 
Messire Henri de Persi, qu'ilz tiennent pour le meilleur chivalier 


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such of the nobles as he could not rely upon to support a.d. 1399 

him in his contemplated usurpation. Calling his adherents 

together, he represented the inexpediency and difficulty 

of carrying so large an army to London, alleging that 

thirty or forty thousand men would amply suffice for the 

king's escort and for holding him to the performance of 

his promises. He thanked them for the support which 

had now secured the only object he had in view, the 

recovery of his inheritance, and was anxious to relieve 

them of the heavy burden which the maintenance of such 

large forces entailed upon them. In compliance with 

this suggestion, sixty thousand men were dismissed to 

their homes ; and among them the armed retainers of the 

Earl of Northumberland, Worcester, and Hotspur." 

Events now marched rapidly, but still Lancaster held 
his hand ; and when the unfortunate king made his 
enforced entry into the city, the Londoners received 
him with their accustomed sullen respect and greeted 
Lancaster as nothing more than their ** good Duke.'* 

Some of the old historians have attributed to North- 
umberland a prominent part in having, by threats and 
violence, extorted Richard's abdication in favour of 
Bolingbroke, after his committal to the Tower; and 
Shakespeare has, in one of his finest scenes, confirmed 
popular tradition on this point. 

There is not an atom of evidence to support the 
charge, and there is much to prove its inherent 

' "Ainsi fist le due retraire la plus grant partie de ses gens." — Metrical 
Chronicle, This is confiimed by Hardyng, who says : — 

" The Erie of Northumberland then had sent 
His power home by council qf Duke Henry ; 
So did his sonne Henry, that truly ment, 
Supposyng well the Duke wold not vary 
From his othe, ne in no wyse contrary ; 
And he and his kepte all theyr power ^ 
Tyll he was crouned kyng as did appere.** 


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AD. Most of the circumstances connected with Richard's 

1342-1408 deposition and with the allegation of his having "purely, 
voluntarily, simply, and absolutely " resigned his crown, 
are involved in mystery ; but the few facts that can be 
gleaned from among the mass of fable and romance 
in which these events are enshrouded, would indicate 
the part played by Northumberland to have been the 
very reverse of that attributed to him. 

The English editor of De la Marques Metrical 
Chronicle asserts that the Percies had "continued 
the struggle" against Lancaster's pretensions "to 
the very evening of the day on which Henry 
challenged the crown," ' and that they persistently 
urged the claims of their young kinsman the Earl of 

That the earl may have entered into negotiations in 
order to induce the king to abdicate in favour of his law- 
ful heir is quite possible ; but it is obvious that no threats 
or violence would have been needed to effect an object 
which would have enabled Richard to defeat the plans of 
his hated rival Bolingbroke. 

There is weightier proof, however, in the fact of the 
Percies having made it one of the chief points in their 
indictment against King Henry before the Battle of 
Shrewsbury, that he had compelled Richard to sign his 
deposition under fear of death,' an accusation which 
they could hardly have made had they been accomplices 
in the act. 

Perhaps the most convincing testimony, however, is 
that of Hardyng, who, although he had been in the 
service of the Percies,^ and may therefore be considered 

* Archaologia^ vol. xx. 

* "Tu ipsum dominum tuum et regem nostrum imprisonasti infra 
turrim London, quousque resignaverat, metu mortis, regna Angliae et 

3 «* Truly I, the maker of this boke, wase brought up fro twelve yere 


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a partisan, wrote his Chronicle many years after the a.d. 1399 
proscription and death of his patrons, and when he could 
have had no motive for misrepresenting facts in their 

Hardyng asserts that he had " herde the Erie of 
Northumberland saie divers tymes, that he herde Duke 
John of Lancastre amonge the Lordes in counsels and in 
parlementes, and in the Common House among the 
Knyghtes chosyn for the Commons, aske by bille for to 
beene admytte heir apparaunte to Kynge Richarde, 
consyderyng howe the Kynge wase like to have no issue 
of his bodie. To the which the Lordes spirituell and 
temporell and the Commons in the Common House, be 
hoole aduyse, seide that the Erie of March, Roger 
Mortymere, wase his next heire to the Crown, of full dis- 
cent of blode, and they wold have noone other ... for 
whiche, when the Duke of Lancastre wase so putt bie, he 
and his counsell feyned and forgied the saide Chronicle, 
that Edmonde should be the elder brother, to mak his son 
Henry a title to the Crown, and wold have hade the seide 
Erie of Northumberland and Sir Thomas Percy his 
brother of counsaile thereof; for that they were discent 
of the said Edmonde by a sister, but they refused it ; 
whiche Chronicle, so forged, the Duke dide put in divers 
abbaies and in freres, as I herde the saide Erie ofte tymes 
saie and recorde to divers persouns, for to be kepte for 
the enheritaunce of his sonne to the Crown, which title he 

of age in Sir Henry Percy house to the battail of Shrewsbury, where I 
wase with hym armed of xxvth yere of age, as I had beene before at 
Homyldon, Cokelaw, and at dyvers rodes and feeldes wyth h3rm, and 
knewe his entent and had it wretyn." — Prose additions to Hardyng's 
Chronicle, HarL MS. 

» He has been accused of having forged certain documents 
relating to the Scottish succession — which if true would undoubtedly 
invaliciUite his testimony in other matters — ^but the charge rests upon 
very hostile and otherwise questionable evidence. 

189 ^ 

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A.D. put furste forth after he hade Kynge Richarde in the 
1342-1401 Toure, but that title the Erie Percy put asicUr 

He goes on to say that Duke Henry, as soon as 
Richard was in custody in the Tower, produced the 
forged documents which his father had deposited in 
various places, whereupon "all the chronycles of 
Westmynster and of the other notable monasteries 
were hade in the Councell at Westmynstre, and ex- 
amyned amonge the Lordes, and proued well by all their 
cronycles, that the Kynge Edwarde wase the older 
brother, and the saide Edmonde the younger brother, 
and not croukebacked nother maymed, but the scmeliest 
person of Englande, except his brother Edwarde. 
Wherefore that Chronycle which Kynge Henry so put 
forth was adnulled and reproued^ 

There are no authentic records to enable us to glean 
any knowledge of what actually took place in Parlia- 
ment on the day of Henrys election, but contempo- 
rary writers here and there afford us a few glimpses 
of the outward state of things. Among others, Hardyng 
asserts that Parliament was induced to set aside 
the claims of Edward Mortimer in consideration of 
his extreme youth ; that in view of Henry's large 
military force " there durst none hym deny," and that 
to the last moment the Percies maintained a passive 

« " Th Erles two then of Northumberlande, 
Of Worcester, and Syr Henry Percy, 
And therle also of Westmerlande 
Councelled hym then Jr& his othe not to varye ; 
And though at eue he did to theim applie, 
On the morrowe by a pryuie counsayl, 
He wuld be crowned kyng withouton fayle." 

This is also confirmed by the MS. Ambassades^ where the antago- 
nistic attitude of the Percies is indicated by the fact that, in spite of 
Henry's representation that ^' he was his brother and had always been 
his friend," they refused to recognise the old Duke of Lancaster's son 


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It seems then that, having resisted Henry's preten- a.d. 1399 
sions as long as possible, when they found themselves in 
a hopeless minority and disarmed, they ceased to struggle, 
and joined in the vote which established the new dynasty. 
Their demeanour, however, gave rise to suspicion, for 
it is mentioned by several of the old chroniclers that 
Northumberland and Worcester "did not take their 
places in the assembled Parliament, but passed to and 
fro," and the author of the French Metrical History 
expresses himself puzzled to account for the conduct of 
the Earl of Northumberland at the ceremonial. The 
fact of his having officiated as one of the sword-bearers 
on that occasion,' leaves, however, no room for doubt as 
to his willingness to afford public recognition of the 

Thus, as Hume expresses it, " Henry became King 
of England, nobody could tell how or wherefore." The 
great nobles ranged themselves around his throne, and 
his recent opponents, vying with his most enthusiastic 
adherents in professions of loyalty, ostentatiously took 
their part in the pageantry of the new court. 

Finally only one man, Merks, Bishop of Carlisle/ 

by Catherine Swinton (who in 1397 had been created Marquess of Dorset 
and Somerset), or to take their seats by his side. 

» " Portoit lespfe de Justice le Prince de Galles son ainsne filz, et 
lesp^e de leghse Messire Henry de Persy, Conte de Northombrelant, 
et conncstable dAngletcrre." — Chroniquc de la Grande Bretaigne^ par 
Jehan de Waurin, vol iL p. 5. 

' Shakespeare has celebrated the courage of the bishop who dared to 
denounce the usurper to his face : 

** My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king. 
Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford's king;'' 

and puts in his mouth an eloquent and prophetic warning of the disas- 
trous civil wars that would result from this outrage. He also makes 
the Earl of Northumberland resent these words and arrest the speaker 
for high treason ; but this is a mistake. It was the Earl of Westmore- 
land who, in bis capacity of Earl Marshal, '^ attacked" the bishop. — 
Hall, p. 6. 


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A.D. raised his voice against the vote which consigned the 
1342-140 deposed sovereign to life-long imprisonment.' 

The sentence, which, among that of others, bears the 
signature of the three Percies, runs thus : 

'* Qu'il serroit mys en saufe et secre garde, et en tiel 
lieu ou nul concours des gentz y est ; et qu il soit gardez 
par seures et sufficientz persones ; et que nul qu ad est6 
familier du dit nadgairs Roy soit ascunement autour sa 
persone ; et que ceo soit fait en le pluis secre manere que 
faire se purra,"* 

From the time that Richard was consigned to Pomfret 
Castle public interest in him seems to have died out; 
and when, shortly after, his death was made known, even 
the prevalent rumours of his having been foully murdered, 
or made away with by the lingering agony of starvation, 
excited but little sympathy. The turn of the tide 
however, was not long in setting in. While Henry, 
beset by avowed and secret foes, groaned under the 
weight of his usurped crown, the vices which had made 
Richard's rule obnoxious faded from the public memory, 
and his better qualities, exaggerated by distance, were 
contrasted with the treachery and duplicity of his per- 
jured successor. The nation was seized with remorse at 
having sacrificed its allegiance to a sovereign whom 
their glorious King Edward and their beloved Black 
Prince had bequeathed to them as a sacred heritage ; and 
the popular sentiment displayed itself in sullen resentment 

» On the 23rd October " the Earl of Northumberland asked Parliament 
to advise the king as to the disposal of the deposed monarch ; " •< coment 
leur semble que serroit ordeignez de Richard, nadgairs Roy, pur luy 
mettre en saufe garde ; sauvant sa vie, quele le Roy voet que luy soit 
sauvez en toutes maneres." — J^ot, Pari, ist Henry IV., iil 426. 

" Rot Pari I St Henry IV. The young Earl of March, who, accord- 
ing to Hume, "consulted his safety by keeping silence with regard 
to his tide," was now consigned to honourable captivity at Win&or, 
and after one or two feeble attempts to assert his rights, sank con- 
tentedly into the position of a pensioner on the bounty of the usurper. 


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towards Henry, and a vague hope, gradually hardening a.d. 1399 
into a firm conviction, that the deposed monarch had 
escaped from prison and was still living/ 

It was for a future generation, however, to reap the 
bitter fruit of the crime their forefathers had condoned, 
and to pay for the gratification of one man's illicit am- 
bition with the lives of untold thousands of England's 
best and noblest sons. 

The first charter to which King Henry IV. attached 
his signature was that under which on the eve of his 
coronation he conferred upon the Earl of Northumberland 
the office of High Constable of England.* Shortly after 
he granted him the Isle of Man and its dependencies ; 
and the wording of the instrument conveying this fief 
clearly indicates the royal intention of placing the ad- 
hesion of the Percies on record in ineffaceable letters. 
By the acceptance of this princely gift, under the con- 
ditions attached to it the earl undoubtedly incurred, 
on behalf of himself and his heirs, the obligation of 
loyally supporting the new dynasty. 

Nor was the royal bounty limited to the head of the 

The Earl of Worcester was associated with Prince 
John, the king s second son, in the office of Lord High 

' So strong a hold did this belief gain on the popular mind that 
special laws were enacted to punish the propagators of such rumours 
with imprisonment and death. In May, 1402, the Earl of Northumber- 
land was commanded under a royal warrant to arrest all persons so 
offending. Yet the belief only became the more prevalent for the 
attempts to suppress it How the unfortunate monarch came to his 
end at Pomfret Castle will never be known, and all the ingenious theories 
on the subject are based upon mere surmise or conjecture ; but of his 
death at that time there can be no reasonable doubt. It is evident 
that Henry thought it less perilous to remain under the suspicion of com- 
plicity in Richard's murder than to admit the possibility of his survival 

' For transcripts of these Charters see Appendix XIX. and XX. 

VOL. I. 193 O 

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A.D. Steward ; he was made Governor of the Prince of Wales, 
1342-1408 Admiral of the Fleet, Treasurer of England, Keeper of 
the Privy Seal, Lieutenant of South Wales and Cardigan, 
and Governor of Aquitaine, The various grants that 
had been made to him during the two preceding reigns 
were confirmed, and to these were added charges upon 
various customs and port dues, and on the revenues of 
towns and corporations.* 

Hotspur became Warden of the East Marches, 
Governor of Berwick and Roxburgh, Justiciary of 
Chester, North Wales and Flintshire, and Constable of 
Chester, Flint, Conway, Carnarvon, and Bamborough 
Castles. He was granted the county of Anglesey • and 
Beaumaris for life ; besides lands of the annual value of 
;^500 in Essex and Cumberland, 

Such exceptional favours called for zealous service in 
the cause of the donor, and during the ensuing three 
years the Percies were ever foremost when the king's 
enemies had to be met or his rule to be supported. 

The Earl of Northumberland took a leading part in 
Parliament and in the Council Chamber, and even 
condescended to the performance of ceremonial court 

« Among these grants were ;^ioo a year from the SheriflEs of London, 
;^ioo a year from the Exchequer of Wales,;^soo a year from the Manor of 
Eye in Suffolk, ^^loo a year from the revenues of Knaresborough, ^if 40 
a year from fines and issues of London and county of Worcester, and 
;;^i8i lox. from the King's Exchequer. — Patent RoUsy 1st Henry /K, 
p. I, m. 21. When to these grants are added his military emoluments 
and the salaries of his seveial governorships, they amount to what in 
those days represented a very la^e annual income. The validity of the 
letters patent having been subsequently called in question, a formal 
re-confirmation, in which all the grants are related, was made in 4th 
Henry IV.— See Appendix XXL 

• On the Prince of Wales attaining the fifteenth year of his age, the 
Council proposed that Anglesey should be then offered to him, Henry 
Percy being compensated by lands belonging to the Earl of March, 
but he refused to be enriched at the cost of his kinsman. — Acts of the 
Privy Council, 


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duties, as when he conveyed the king's invitation to the a.i>. 
members of the two Houses of Parliament : i4oo-i4<^i 

*' Et pria as toutz les Seigneurs Espirituel et tem- 
porell et as toutz les comunes sus dit, detre le dimange 
ensuant a mangier avec le roi notre Seigneur." ' 

In the north he was fully employed in alternately 
negotiating and fighting with the Scotch. In the first 
year of Henry's reign, on his refusal to deliver up George 
Dunbar, Earl of March, who had taken refuge at Alnwick 
Casde, they had declared war, and the king at once carried 
a large army across the Border, the principal contingent 
of which was furnished by the Percies. The outbreak 
of Owen Glendower s rebellion in Wales led to the pre- 
mature withdrawal of this force, and to the conclusion 
of an unfavourable peace, the terms of which, however, 
appear to have been little regarded on either side. 

The Earl of Douglas had repeatedly remonstrated 
against the aggressions of the English Borderers, and 
early in 1401 complained to Henry that his hereditary 
foe, the Earl of Northumberland, had broken the truce 
agreed upon, requesting at the same time that Com- 
missioners should be appointed *' devant lesquelx a Taide 
de Dieu je ferai clerement estre cognu que le dit Comte 
de Northumbre n'ay pas fait comme sa lettre de certi- 
ficacion conteint et importe ; et que les dites treves de 
cest an et le redres de tous attemptatez au devant faitez 
sont plainement empesch^s [et failjies en son default" * 

The king, after inquiry, completely exonerated 
Northumberland from these charges, and replied that he 
had satisfied himself, that the earl " rien ne fesoit sinon 
de comun avys et assent des dites persones a lui assoziez 
come noz commissaires, pour conformentz a Tinstruc 
tion pour nous a eux donees ; " at the same time he 

* Cotton's Abridged Acts. 

« Cott MSS., Vespasian F. vii. foL 120. 

VOL. I. 195 02 

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A.D. accuses Douglas of having suppressed certain facts 
134^-1^40^ u Jqj^^ ^Q^g esmerveillons/' and of having himself been 
the principal agent in breaking the truce. He consented 
however to appoint Commissioners ; and it affords a 
striking proof of the condition to which these continuous 
Border raids had reduced the country, that the Duke of 
Rothsay proposed that the meeting should be held at 
Melrose Abbey instead of in the West Marches, because 
the English Marches, like those of Scotland, had been so 
utterly devastated "qil n'est nul vivre pour gentz et 
chivalx d'assembler en manere accustumez." * 

In the same year ■ the earl proceeded to the Continent 
on a mission having for its object the negotiation of a 
marriage between Henry's eldest daughter and the son 
and heir of the Emperor of Germany. This alliance, 
although for some time delayed for want of the stipulated 
dower of the princess, was ultimately concluded.^ 

» State Papers. See also (Appendix XXII) a letter from Earl of 
Northumberland to the Council, dated 24th of March, 1401, in which 
it is stated that the Duke of Rothsay urged the immediate ratification 
of the treaty of peace before the arrival of the French Commissioners, 
-who, like Douglas and other of the more warlike Scottish nobles, 
considered its terms humiliating. This is not to be wondered at» 
since Northumberland requests to be furnished with transcripts of ** the 
evidences and records proving that the crown of Scotland belongs to 
England," upon which pretension the treaty was based. The assassina- 
tion of the Duke a few days later broke off the n^otiations, and hostili- 
ties were renewed with greater violence than ever. 

* About this time the earl had been granted the custody of Jedworth 
Castle, with a fee of 100 marks in peace and 200 marks in war, in 
exchange for the Castle of Lochmaben and other places in Scotland, 
which had been conferred upon his grandfather in 8th Edward III. — 
Harleian Charters^ 2 Henry IV. 

3 The impoverished state of the Exchequer in the earlier part of 
Henry's reign is very remarkable. **/« Thesauro nihir* was the 
stereotyped reply to the most ordinary demand for funds to meet the 
requirements of the public service ; and so impoverished had the king 
become that on the ist March, 1402, we find him soliciting the loan of 
;^4o in aid of the expenses attendant upon his daughter's approaching 
marriage: ''Vous prions chierement que, pour les susdites causes, en 
ceste notre necessitee, apprester nous veuillez la somme de quarante 
livres." — Fcedera^ vol. viii., p. 245. 


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In the meanwhile the Earl of Worcester had been a,d. 
employed in important duties abroad. 140^401 

Richard s deposition and death had caused much 
consternation in the French provinces under English 
rule where the late king had enjoyed great popu- 
larity. The French Court endeavoured to turn this 
feeling to profitable account, and the Due de Bourbon 
proceeded in person to Bordeaux in the hope of winning 
over the people and inducing them to shake off the yoke 
of their foreign rulers and to return to their natural 

The Londoners, who, in the tenacity with which they 
clung to our conquered territories in France, represented 
popular feeling throughout the country, no sooner received 
these tidings than they petitioned the king to take steps 
for securing the integrity of these possessions by the 
despatch of military reinforcements, and by the employ- 
ment of a diplomatic mission composed of " valyant and 
wyse men that is beloved amongst them, some such as 
hath governed, and this is the Lord Thomas Percy ; " * 
whom Henry accordingly selected for the duty. 

The Bourdelois seem to have been disposed to take 
a practical view of the question of nationality. " If the 
Frenchmen govern over us they will give us the same 
usage, for they know how the realme of France is vexed 
with tayles and towage, and shameful exactions all to get 
money, and if the French govern over us they will bring 
us to the same usage. It is better to be Englishe for 
they keep frank free. If the Londoners have deposed 
King Richard what is that to us ? We have and shall 
always have a kynge, and we understand that the Bishop 

' Froissart. " Les Anglois furent frapp^s de crainte et pour empecher 
la revolte des Bourdelois envoybrent en Guienne Thomas de Persi et I'eve- 
que de Londres et les charg^rent de les retenyr dans leur obeyssance." 
— Dissertation sur les Monnoyes par TAbW Venutis. Bordeaux, 1754. 


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^•^- of London and Sir Thomas Percy shortly will be here ; 
1342-1408 ^^y ^jjj .^^^^ ^ ^j. ^^ ^^ ., , 

Worcester embarked for Bordeaux in the early spring 
with a retinue of 200 men-at-arms and 400 archers ; • and 
"at his arrival so wisely entreated the noblemen, so 
gravelie persuaded the magistrates of the cities and 
townes, and so gentlie and familiarlie used and treated 
the commons, that he not only appeased their furie and 
malice but brought them to own and conform obeyance, 
receiving their oaths of obedience in loial fealty . . . and 
returned again to Englande with great thankes." » 

Shortly after Worcester was despatched to Paris for 
the purpose of negotiating a peace with France, one of 
the proposed conditions of which was a marriage between 
the widowed Queen Isabel and the Prince of Wales/ 
The French Court, however, peremptorily rejected their 
advances, and the king demanded that his daughter should 
be forthwith restored to him together with the dower and 
jewels she had carried into England. 

It was not until the following summer that Queen 
Isabel actually returned to her native land ; * and the Earl 

» Froissart 

* '' The chiefest captaines that accompanied the earl in this iournie 
were his nephew Hew Hastings, Sir Thomas Colville, Sir William Lisle, 
John de Graille, base son to the Captal de Budi, Sir William DrajrCon, 
Sir John d'Ambreticourt, and the Bishop of London." — Holinshed. 

3 Holinshed, vol iiL, p. 15. Froissart 

4 The fact of this mairiage having been proposed effectually disposes 
of the legend of Richard having survived and made his escape from 
prison, since the King of England would not have urged an alliance 
between the Prince of j Wales and Isabel had he not been satisfied that 
she was a widow. According to Monstrelet, the n^otiation for this 
marriage was renewed four years later, when Henry offered to abdicate 
in favour of his son if the arrangement were effected. Isabel, however, 
showed no desire to become for a second time a queen of England. 
She married her cousin, the young Due d'Orleans, in 1408, and died 

^ By a 103^1 ordinance of 22nd June '' three Balingers and two armed 
Barges were required to be in readiness at Dover on ist July, 1402, for 
conveyance of the queen." — Fmdera^ vol. viiL, 204. 


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of Worcester, who only three years before had acted as a.d. 1402 
chamberlain at her marriage, was now entrusted with the 
charge of restoring the child-widow to her father. At- 
tended by a retinue of 500 persons, ** including some of 
the noblest ladies of England,'* ' she embarked at Dover 
for Boulogne, whence she was conducted to Amiens, July, 
where her uncle, the Due d'Orleans, met and received 
her from Worcester's hands.* 

The author of the Metrical History appears to have 
been an eye-witness of this ceremony, and testifies to the 
grace and delicacy with which Worcester acquitted him- 
self in this his last duty to the poor queen, whose life's 
troubles had thus begun in early childhood.' 

The story is best told in his own quaint words : — 

'' Quand ilz furent ensemble mi? 
En la chapelle, un chevallier 
Qui d'angloiz est tenu moult chier, 
Cest Sire Thommas de Persi, 
Prinst a parler, disant ainsi : 
Le roy Henri, roy d'Engleterre, 
Mon Souverain Seigneur en terre, 
Desirant raccomplissement 
De sa promesse ligement, 

« ** The queen embarked under the conduct of the Earl of Worcester, 
associated with divers other noble and honorable personages both men 
and women, having with her all the jewels, ornaments and plate which 
she had brought to England, with a great surplusage besides gyven to 
her by the king." — Holinshead. The restoration of the jewels was 
not so complete as is represented Henry is said to have retained the 
greater part, and as late as in July, 1403, the French ambassadors in 
England were instructed to make reclamation for these. — Fadera^ viii. 
315. Miss Strickland says: "The royal virgin was approaching 
her fiAeenth year when thus plundered, and wearing the dress and 
weeds of widowhood she embarked at Dover for Calais, escorted by 
the same Sir Thomas Percy who had attended her as chamberlain during 
her espousals." — Qwens of England. She was not in her fifteenth but 
barely in her twelfth year at this time. 

» " Granting a regular receipt for her delivery worded somewhat like a 
receipt for a bale of merchandise." — Hall 

3 •* My queen to France ; from whence, set forth in pomp, 
She came adorned hither like sweet May, 
Sent back like Hallowmas or shortest day." 

—Richard If. 


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A.D. Et de voulente ties affine, 

1 342-1408 A cy ma Dame, la Royne 

— D'Engleterre fait amener, 

Pour la rendre et restituer 
A son pere le roy de France, 
Bien deli^e, quitte et Tranche, 
De tous liiens de mariage, 
Et de tout autre servage, 
Dette ou obligacion. 
Et que, sur la damnacion 
De son ame ainsi le prenoit 
Et oultre plus, q'elle estoit 
Aussi saine et aussi entidre, 
Qu'au jour que dedans sa litidre, 
Fu amenee au roy Richart ; 
Et s'il estoit nul, quelque part, 
Fut roy, due, comte, chrestiien, 
Ou dautre estat grant ou moien. 
Qui voulsist a se contredire, 
11 trouveroit, sans plus rien dire, 
Ne sans querir plus long conseil, 
Un homme d'estat tout pareil. 
En Engleterre soustenant 
Ceste querelle, et par devant 
Tout bon juge exposeroit 
Son corps, que tout ainsi estoit 
« « « 

Lors Sire Thommas de Persi, 
La jeune royne saisi 
Par les bras en plourant moult fort, 
Et la livra par bon accort 
Au Messages, qui fiirent la, 
Et aussi on leur delivra 
Certains lettres de quittance, 
Qu'avoient promis ceux de France." 

Shortly after having thus restored the widow of the 
deposed king to her family, Worcester was employed in 
the more grateful duty of conducting Joan of Navarre 
from Brittany as the new queen of England. 

« • 

The only authentic writings under Hotspur's hand 
which have hitherto come to light are comprised in his 
French correspondence with the Council, while he was 
engaged in fighting Owen Glendower's warlike and 
barbarous hordes in Wales. 


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Shakespeare ascribes to his hero a profound contempt a.d. 
for the whole tribe of " Metre ballad-mongers" and their '402-1403 
" mincing poetry ; " and certainly nothing could be less 
mincing, or more prosaic and matter of fact, than the 
style of these letters. Although he offers excuses for 
his royde et feble mandre^ his compositions are strongly 
marked by that directness of purpose which characterised 
his speech and actions; and if they are sometimes 
"royde" in expression, they are never "feble." As 
indicating the first causes and symptoms of the estrange- 
ment between the king and the Percies, these despatches * 
possess much historical value, apart from the personal 
interest attaching to them. 

The failure of the Government to provide funds for the 
conduct of the Welsh war forms the principal subject of 
this correspondence. King Henry's finances during the 
earlier period of his reign were, as already stated, at a 
very low ebb, and the difficulty of meeting the cost of 
military establishments, although habitually exaggerated 
by the Council, did doubtless exist. 

The emoluments of the wardens of the Northern 
Marches, be it remembered, were only the subsidies 
payable by the State for maintaining garrisons on the 
border, and for supplementing the feudal armies which 
the great nobles maintained at their own cost. When, 
as in the present instance, the war ceased to be localised 
the expenses of raising and subsisting troops became 
greatly increased ; and Hotspur's letters show that it 
was not until he and his father had completely exhausted 
their private resources in the king's service, that they 

» They are preserved among the Cotton MSS. in the British Museum, 
and will be found printed in YWcoh^^ Proceedings of the Privy Council. The 
Earl of Northumberland's letters of the same period are also in this collec- 
tion, and are quoted by Sharon Turner as excellent examples of the 
literary style of Englishmen of the highest rank in the fourteenth 


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A.D. made urgent appeals for payment of the stipulated 
1342-1408 allowances, the withholding of which made it impossible 
for them to meet their engagements towards the army in 
Wales and in the north marches. It does not appear 
that at this time either of them doubted the good faith 
of the king, but that they attributed the failure of funds 
to some inimical influence in the Council.' 

When, early in 1401, William Tudor," who had seized 
upon Conway castle, was besieged by Hotspur and 
forced to surrender, Henry granted the latter ;^200 " as 
a reward for the cost and expense incurred by him in 
having continued the siege for four weeks at his own 
cost, and without the assistance of the people of the 
locality." ^ The grant however existed on paper only. 

On the 2nd May following, writing from Carnarvon, 
Hotspur begs the Council to ''remember how I have 
repeatedly applied for payment of the king's troops at 
Berwick and in the East Marches of England, who are 
in such distress as they can no longer bear or endure for 
want of money, and I therefore implore you to order that 
they may be paid as was agreed upon between the trea- 
surer and myself at our last meeting, if better means 
cannot be adopted, as otherwise I shall have to go to 
you in person to claim payment to the neglect of other 
duties." * 

A fortnight later he represents the great labours and 
expenses he has incurred in the king's service, " which in 
. good faith I am unable to bear beyond the end of this 
month or a few days more," praying the Council to pro- 
vide the necessary funds and thus to avert much mischief, 
and promising in return to place *' all his power by sea 

» See Hotspur's letter. Appendix XXIVa. 
« See his petition to the YvcLg.—Ibid. XXIII. 

3 Issue Rolls, 3 Henry IV. 

4 Appendix XXIVa 


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and land, his persons and his goods," at the disposal of a.d. 
the State.'. '402-1403 

Early in June"* he again writes that if " good and 
speedy remedy do not come . . . • and if I depart from 
this country before some order is taken, which becomes 
a matter of necessity to me for I cannot bear the costs I 
am at/' the complete success of the rebels is to be appre- 
hended. Finally he represents that having, after repeated 
applications, failed to receive the promised subsidies for 
maintaining troops or the stipulated allowances to which 
he and the Earl were entitled as wardens of the marches 
and governors of strongholds, and having from time to 
time been put off with evasive answers, he had written to 
the king warning him that if, which Heaven forefend, evil 
should happen to any town, castle, or march, under his 
rule for want of subsistence of the troops, not he, but 
they who will not make payment in accordance with the 
royal commands, must bear the blame. He states that 
he was quite at a loss to understand how the Council could 
plead their inability to meet the charges of the marches 
under his father and himself, which amount only to 
;^5000, while they had no difficulty in providing ;^3 7,000 
for military defences elsewhere ; and concludes, with the 
apology for his style already referred to, in expressing 
a hope that the Council will not be displeased at the 
urgency of his demands, which have been made not on 
his own account, but in consideration of his soldiers, who 
are in extreme want for which it is entirely out of his 
power to provide a remedy.^ 

Matters had not improved when in the following year 
the young Earl of March joined his uncle. Sir Edmund 
Mortimer, in an expedition against Owen Glendower, by 
whom they were both taken prisoners. Henry, at first 

« Appendix XXIVc. » IHd. XXIVd. 3 Jhid. XXIVe. 


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A.D. ^ expressed his concern at the capture of " notre tres cher 
and tres am6 cousyn/' ' and stated that he intended pro- 
ceeding to Wales in person ta avenge it and " pour 
resister a la malice des nos rebelles " ; — but he soon after 
changed his tone, charged Edmund Mortimer (whose 
zeal in his service had hitherto been unquestioned) with 
having voluntarily and treacherously surrendered himself 
to the Welsh chieftain, and refused in harsh and in- 
sulting terms the prayer of the Percies for the ransom 
of their common kinsman." 

The attitude now assumed by the king is perfectly 
intelligible. The Earl of March, the legitimate possessor 
of the crown of England, was a weak self-indulgent 
and unambitious boy, from whom personally the usurper 
knew that he had nothing to fear. Hotspur, however, 
had married the young earl's aunt, Elizabeth,^ sister of 
Edmund Mortimer,* an alliance which might produce for- 
midable results, since their offspring would stand within 
measurable distance of the throne ; and the military 
reputation, the popularity, and the overgrown power of 

* King Henry IV. to the Council June 25, 1402. — Proceedings of the 
Privy CoundL 

■ " Shall our coffers then 
Be emptied to redeem a traitor home ? 
Shall we buy treason, and indent with fears, 
When they have lost and forfeited themselves ? 
No, on the barren mountains let him starve I " 

ist Part of Henry IV. Act i, Scene 3. 

Historical e^dence bears out the character of the language here 
imputed to the king. 

3 This lady, bom at Usk in 137 1, subsequently married Lord 
Camoys, a distinguished soldier who fell in the French wars under 
Henry V. She was still living in 1427, when she had liveiy of the 
manor of Newborn, which the first Earl of Northumberland had settled 
upon her on her marriage with his son. 

4 The circumstance of both uncle and nephew bearing the name of 
Edmund caused the two to be confounded by^most of the old writers, 
who speak of Hotspur's wife as the sister of the Earl of March. 
Shakespeare fell into the same error. 


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> in p'.'^'. tiK av'/no,'- -it :.• ' *" 
'Its p . • • '^' 3" ; — ! ut he ;«v, .[■ 

rid . :'i^vt-^ l*K.'cn uniu^^t o^^-^ :» 

li-iin. •; ;t: r« iiised in harsn «i: 
T "i\iir of i:.'^ Perci^s fur fhe i 

,a- \'. ^ •' - " 'f;mari 

TLc ^itr'-;. •> ■'* as'-unv:;! Ly the king is jk". 
*• ? * ' [..irl of March, th*^ h:i?-itiinaLc [■ -.^^ n> 

K't^'^nnu, \\.-»s a wjak se!f-inJ."\x 
. irom \\'hom j crsonally the "<\r^ 
•■ n ^ri'n'2: to fear. Hotspur, h^^ \ /' 
• yojr.'r earl's aunt, Klizabeth, ^:sutv 

' • w.rr,* .in alii'-nc^* which ri-iijrht prot'uce ; 

i. . ' vits, sinvc thuir ofNprintT; woukl st.ind v".:'*^. 

r .',urat)Ie Jistant:e of the thrunc ; -and th.". Vi ^l.. 
r. ,. liUti'jn the [»opulaiity, and the oxer^iwwn pvr' ^ r 

* Kipi: '' 'y IV tf; the Coan- il Jane 25, i. \ r> 2. —/'**' j:ecJi\\ " / 
J n'ry Ov/-.,. 

• " S'uli our CMKrs then 
i'f* t-ii.rticd 10 ndr.^n a traitor home? 
:'£-'.! ii wi' buy treason, and irident with fears, 
When they have lost *.nd forfeited thcraseUes? 
No, on tl c barren naountams let him starve ! " 

I St Part oi Henry IV, Act. i, So?ne ,;, 

Ills' -'^m' in*idtnce t '*ars out the character of the language h.-r^ 
icii":*. . tf; the k" •■. 

3 T.'^ la.'.>. : -<:; at I'sk m 1371, '-:ib>ct|uently marned T.o; : 

*".•■■;. -.^, a i] ^'.'^iiisbfd 5n](l.t r who fe'l in tne Fre'v:h^ '-ti r^i 

, V. Sho wns .sti'i I'-in^, in 1^27, when she had I:vt.-yi..:' : • 

; -A \i /"K;in, w^ -.1 tb. *st E .ri of Nurthiur.Lorlind had .-..: '• • 

' . V 'Cr M:ir-'a*:c v/iih hL> bt-n. 

: .' .'/an :•:; --f hoth vncle and 'u^y hew bearing the lu^.n-: . 
. - ■• •■• *^"''.' two t<* ■•* v'onfonniiv vi by most of th;. • Id wr-te ,-.. 

»..; i. I t ir's \^»i».' J-; the .'/^V/' cf the E^u"! of M .' 
■ .. .'. > i! t'-kt.i th'. b*ime etior. 


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and M«r Husband Lord Camoys, 
♦ m Trottoh Church 

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his family were already a source of danger to the House a.d- 
of Lancaster. They had done him good service, it is ^^^J^^^^ 
true, but they were too apt to remind him of his in- 
debtedness ; and as they had now a personal interest in 
making themselves the supporters and representatives of 
King Richard's lawful heir, their power must be crushed. 

Such were the sentiments which the old writers 
attribute to the king at this juncture, and which history 
has generally accepted.' 

Hotspur being more immediately concerned in the 
liberation of his brother-in-law and nephew than the 
other members of his family, was probably unguarded in 
the expression of his views upon the king's conduct- 

'* Behold, ! " he is reported to have said on leaving the 
royal presence, " the heyre of the realme is robbed of his 
right, and the robber, with his owne, will not redeem him." " 

His personal resentment, however, gave way before 
his soldierlike spirit and sense of public duty, and on 
the first appearance of a foreign enemy. Hotspur forget- 
ful of his grievances, hastened to the scene of danger. 

The Scots, taking advantage of the rebellion in 
Wales, had become more arrogant in their disregard 
of the existing treaty of peace. In the spring of 
1402 they had advanced in great force, under Hep- 
bum, as far as the borders of Durham, whence, after 
ravaging and devastating whole districts, they were 
slowly returning with their booty ; when the Earl of 
Northumberland, accompanied by his son and brother and 7th May. 
a number of northern lords, overtook them at Nesbitt 
Moor, and, in a fiercely-contested battle, completely 

» " He rather desyred and wished all his lineage in heaven, for then 
his title had been out of all doubt" — Holinshed. "The king began 
to rouse on this request and not without cause, for indeed it touched 
him as nere as his shirt, for that he was nere of the blood of King 
Richard and had good cause to make day me of the throne." — Hall 

=» HalL 


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A.D. defeated them, making their commander a prisoner and 
13422;^ 408 slaying, it is reported, no less than 10,000 of their 

To avenge this loss, a second expedition of 12,000 
men, was, in the autumn, led across the border by 
an hereditary foe of the Percies, Archibald, Earl of 
Douglas, whom Henry Hotspur hurried forward to 
meet. The Scots occupied a commanding position on 
14th Sept. the heights of Homildon," near Wooler; and Hotspur 
had, with his accustomed impetuosity, given the order to 
charge them up hill, when the more wary Earl of March 
(Dunbar), who had entered into a formal alliance with 
the English, advised that the attack should be opened 
by a continuous discharge of arrows.' The archers were 
accordingly called to the front, and poured a shower 
with unerring aim into the closely serried ranks of the 
enemy, who, taken by surprise, but unwilling to aban- 
don their vantage ground by seeking shelter, fell by 

' The king on 30th June formally communicated to the Council the 
defeat of the Scots by " notre iris chier tlfoial Cousin le Cante de North' 
uniberland^ and urges reinforcements being at once sent to the North. 
— Proceedings of the Privy Council, 

* Called also Holmidon and Humbledon. In a memo, by Dr. 
Thomas Percy among the Syon House MSS. it is stated that when 
he visited the scene a street in this village continued to bear the name 
of Percy* s Row, 

3 " Sed comes Marchise retinebat Percy per A'enum, dicens eum non 
debere movere, sed debere mittere sagittarios, et Scotos, quasi signum ad 
sagittas, posse de facili penetrare, et sic eos victos captivare, sicut rei 
exitus patefecit" — Fordun, Scotichronicon^ Lib. XV. cap. 14, p. 1149. 

* By the bold anachronism previously referred to (p. 154), Sir Walter 
Scott has introduced this incident into his dramatic poem on the 
Battle of HcUidon Hill^ where the following dialogue is ascribed to 
King Edward III. and Henry Percy : 

" Percy. The thick volley 
Darkens the air and hides the sun from us. 

" Edward. It falb on those shall see the sun no more ; 
The wingfed, the resistless plague is with them. 
How their vast host is reeling to and fro, 


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Sir David Swinton, a Scottish knight, impatient under a.d. 1402 
the slaughter inflicted upon the helpless soldiery, ex- 
claimed, " What fascinates you to-day that you stand 
like deer or fawns in a park to be shot, instead of 
meeting your foes hand to hand ? Let them that will 
follow me!'*' 

They then charged down hill; but the tactics that 
had proved so successful were continued. The archers, 
still in the van of the English army, fell back as the 
enemy advanced, halting from time to time to pour 
their deadly volleys into them. The Scots were thrown 
into confusion ; in the attempt to rally them most of their 
leaders, including Douglas himself and the Earl of 
Fife, King Robert's nephew, were slain or taken 
prisoners; and of the thousands that had crossed the 
border a few days before only a few hundreds are said 
to have succeeded in regaining their native soil. The 
tidings of this decisive victory, which was attained with 
insignificant loss to the English," were received with 
universal rejoicing. The king conferred an annuity of 
40/ a year upon the messenger who brought him the 
welcome intelligence ; ^ and when Parliament in the 

Like the chafed whale with fifty lances in him. 
They do not see, they cannot shun the wound ; 
The storm is viewless as death's sable wing. 
Unerring as his scythe. 

** Percy, Horses and riders going down together ! 
Tis almost pity to see nobles fall 
And by a peasant's arrow ! " 

* Fordun, Lib. XV. cap. 14, p. 1 140. 

^ '' In hac pugna nullus dominus, nuUus miles aut scutifer, hostibus 
ictum intulit, sed solummodo Deus Omnipotens arcitenentibus 
Anglorum victoriam miraculose contulit, proceribus et armatis efifectis 
belli spectatoribus otiosis." — ^Walsingham, ii. 252. 

3 The grant was confirmed by an Act of Parliament, dated 25th 
September, 1402, in favour of Nicholas Sherbury, described as an 
Esquire of the Earl of Northumberland, " qui nobis primo reportavit 
certitudinem boni ac placentis et gratiosi viagii nuper apud Homildon 
juxta Wollere in Northumbria, per praedictum consanguineum nostrum, 


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Aj). following year petitioned him to reward the Earl of North- 
134^408 umberland "et luy honorer et tenir en ch^re, et luy mercier 
de ses grandes labours et diligences/'* he granted him the 
whole of the Scottish estates of the Earl of Douglas,* 
the only drawback to the enjoyment of which consisted 
in the necessity of their being conquered by their new 
owner before he could claim their revenues. 

Accompanying this mark of the royal favour in 
acknowledgment of a national service, came the king s 
peremptory mandate prohibiting the earl or Hotspur 
from parting with the prisoners they had taken, whom 
they were required to hold at the king's disposal " certis 
et urgentibus de causis nos ad praesens moventibus."^ 

The ransom of prisoners had hitherto been considered 
as one of the principal prizes of war, and it is difficult 
to understand why King Henry should have made a 
brilliant victory the occasion for disputing this right/ 
unless from a determination to offend the Percies* 
These however were by no means disposed to submit to 
his claim. The earl represented that by immemorial 
border custom ** they who had undergone the danger of 
battle should have all the advantage of pay and 
prisoners," and that the kings of England had always 
allowed this right "to the lords of the north, to 
encourage them in defending their dominions, and to 

et alios legios nostros in comitiva sua, facti supennimicos nostros Scotiae 
ad devictionem eoramdem." — Records in the Tower. The grant was 
renewed by an Act passed in ist Henry V. 

» Cotton's Abridged Acts of Parliament, 3rd Henry IV. 

" FaderOy viii. 289. 

3 Royal proclamation, September 22, 1402. — Fxdera^ viii. 278. 

4 Edward HI. had, it is true, established a precedent when he required 
the captors to deliver up King John of France and King David after the 
battles of Poitiers and Nevill's Cross. These prisoners of war were, 
however, as crowned heads, in an exceptional position, and both Cope- 
land and Morberguewere fully indemniiied for the surrender by payment 
of a munificent ransom. 


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keep up the damages caused by the continual depre- a.d. 1402 
dations of these faithless people " — the Scots. 

The following manly and dignified letter, written at a 
time when the Percies were using their whole power and 
making great personal sacrifices in order that England 
might reap the fullest benefit from their recent victories 
over the Scots at Nesbitt Moor and Homildon, 
places the Earl of Northumberland's position in its 
true light, and affords the most powerful testimony to the 
unworthy treatment which the Percies had met with at 
the hands of their sovereign. It is not the exhaustion of 
his own resources in the national cause of which the 
writer complains ; but the fact of his honour, and that 
of his son, being involved in the fulfilment of their 
c^g^igements towards the troops ; and of the disgrace 
which will be cast upon their order if promises 
solemnly made by them in the king's name were 
broken, and poor men who had abandoned house and 
home to fight his battles, were left to starve.' 

" Mon tresredoute Sr. soverain, je me recommans a 
vostre magestee roiale, a la qele plese entendre, qe jay 
receu voz treshonurables lettres purportantz vostre estat 
et sauntee, a grand pleisir et comfort de moy. Et, mon 
tresredoute Sn, quant a ce qe vous mavez escrit, qe vous 
pensez qe je serray assetz fort a le chastelF de Ormeston 
le jour limitez, sanz charge de vous, nientmeins, puis qe 
vous avez consideracion, come piert en mesmes voz 
lettres, qe sanz coustages de moy et de mon filz il ne 
purra estre fait, vous avez ordenez une certeine somme 
de monoie pur estre envoiez a nous deux en haste, de la 
quele je ne say nul jour de paiement, ne quantitee de la 
somme ; et mon honur y est sibien come lestat de vostre 
roialme, et le dit jour si court, qe si le paiement ne soit 

» See also his letter to the Council, Appendix XXV. 
VOL. I. 209 p 

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A.D. briefment ordenez, il est bien semblable qe le bone renome 
^34^4^^ du chivalerie de vostre roialme ne serra gardez en cett, 
endroit, et outreement deshonur et desesance a moy et 
mon dit filz, qi sumes voz loialx lieges; le quel nous 
quidons qe ne serroit vostre pleisir, ne auxi nous ne lavons 
deservy. Et, mon tresredoute Sr. soverain, si nous deux 
feussiens paiez de les sommes de Ix Ml livres puis vostre 
coronation, come jay entenduz qe vous estez enformez 
par ceux qi ne veullent vous enformer la veritee, adonqes 
nous purriens mieulz sustenir un tiel charge, mes a cest 
jour sont nous duez clerement, come il purra bien estre 
monstrez, xx. Ml livres et plus. Par quoy, mon tresre- 
doute Sr. soverain, vous supplie et requere, qe vous plese 
ensi charger vostre Conseil et Tresorer, qe nous poons 
estre paiez et preferrez, selonc la grante et ordenance 
faites en vostre darrein Parlement, et forme de noz 
endentures, de une notable somme, et si par temps, qe 
pur defaute de ce qe nous est due ne soions defait et en 
meschief en ceste nostre necessitee et labour pur defense 
de vostre roialme. Mon tresredoute Sr. soverain, je prie 
luy toutpuissant Dieux qil vous eit touz jours en sa 
seintisme garde. Escrit a Helawe le xxvj. jour de 
Juyn (1403). 

Vostre McUhathias, qe vous 
suplie de prendre son estat 
et laboure a quere a cest 

bosoigne. — H.'*' 

I — — — — ^— — ^-^— — — — — 

» Cotton MSS. Vesp. F. xiii. Fol 16. The endorsement by a con- 
temporary hand is, " Litera Comitis Northumbrise directa nostro r^ 
in qua subscripsit idem comes manu sua propria," in reference to the 
concluding lines in the EarFs handwriting. The signature Afathathias, 
which he used on several occasions, appears to have been a familiar 
name by which the Earl was called by the king in the days of their 
intimacy. Its origin is not known ; I^gard states that it bore refer- 
ence to " some prophecy or romance," but he gives no authority for this 
opinion A duplicate of the foregoing letter (Vesp. F. vii. f. 25) is 
signed, "Vostre humble li^e le Conte de Northumbr', Conestable 


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.n "^11 1 ■ '.;.'cri:^ i. :. ."j ri;:.^ •• m^i ■ -ua j^ro|>r;a,'' in -c'l-r.r.'e t i *' ; 

r.^' (i^'i.n*; Ir^'*^ in t^ c Ear-'s Inn-i '•.t;;w. The r)!-:: .ilurf Afairu >. ' , 

. u .0 ii t'l on "ijv"..,;! oi.v.iv ■>'•-.>, aj/;'t\.rs to have bc.-n a Jan.: : i: 

r • . 'V'^ich the Karl ^a;> -mIIi"! !.y the k'-ng in the (ij\.'- t' t.-'^ 

.'.:.•' . It^ ori^;i. is not knov.n ; I.u\.\i'd states that it bore r*l : 

• "' jwr ;ir. .ph'-ry or rom r • .," hi.t Le imv ;s r.o autht^r.ty u-r t • 

A ^'.; 'iva'o of the t.-r-- '^^ letter (Vesp. F. vt; f. it > 

*' ' ^*rj ii'.mble W^^^t L C tc Ce Northambr', * '«»nc -*.* !/ 

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Fac- simile of Autograph Subscription and Signature of 
Henry, ist Earl of Northumberland. See p. 210. 

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Henrjr may have had some difficulty in overcoming a.d. 1402 
the parsimony in military expenditure of his ministers ; 
but when it suited his purpose to assert his authority the 
necessary funds were forthcoming. Of this we have an 
instance in the case of his son, who having joined the 
army in Wales, had represented that unless provided 
with money to pay the troops he would be obliged to 
return to England *'ou estre honteux pour toujours."* 
The king, who had turned a deaf ear to similar com- 
plaints from Hotspur, commanded the Council to make 
an immediate remittance of funds ** aufin que notre dit filz 
puisse le mieulx continuer a resister a la malice de noz 
rebelz galois . . . quelle chose il ne pourra faire sil n'ait 
de quoy/' ' 

The demand now made by the king upon his powerful 
subjects to surrender to him their right of ransoming 
their prisoners, which ransoms would have enabled them 
partially to satisfy the claims of their soldiery, could 
have left no doubt upon their minds as to his dispo- 
sition towards them. The accounts of what personally 
passed between them upon this matter greatly differ, and 
there are no authentic records to afford a clue to the 
truth. The ancient historians, however, concur in 
attributing a defiant attitude to the Percies. 

The earnestness with which the Earl of Worcester now 
championed the cause of his family is said to have led to 
his dismissal from court ; but whether he was commanded 

* Prince Henry to the King, June 1402. Cotton MSS., Cleopatra F. 
III. f. 123. 

» The King to the Council, Appendix XXVI. Sir Harris Nicolas 
assigns the date of 1403 to this letter, and argues from a passage in 
whidi Henry refers to " noz treschiers et foialx cousins le Comte de 
Northumberland et Henri Perci son fils," that within a few days of 
the battle of Shrewsbury the king had no suspicion of the disaffection 
of the Perdes. The letter, however, bears conclusive internal evidence 
of having been written with reference to Prince Henry's representations 
in the previous year. 

VOL. L 211 P 2 

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A.D. to withdraw, or oj his own accord retired to his strong- 

The final interview between the king and Northum- 
berland and his son is thus described : 

" The Earl, having urgently demanded payment for 
the custody of the marches, said : ' My son and I have 
spent our all in your service/ The king replied, ' I 
have no money, and money you shall not have/ * The 
earl said, * When you entered the kingdom you promised 
to rule according to our counsel ; you have now year by 
year received large sums from the country, and yet you 
have nothing, and pay nothing, which irritates your 
commons. God grant you better counsel ! ' 

" Then came in like manner his son Henry Percy, 
who was married to the sister of the captive Edmund 
Mortimer in Wales, and he prayed the king that he would 
allow the said Edmund to be ransomed at his cost The 
king replied that the public money should not be expended 
in strengthening his enemies against himself. Henry 
answered : * How is this ? You would have us expose 
ourselves when you or your crown is in danger, and yet 

' Shakespeare follows tradition, if not history, in making the king 
address Worcester in these terms ; — 

" Your presence is too bold and peremptory. 
And majesty might never yet endure 
The moody frontier of a servant brow. 
You have good leave to leave us ; when we need 
Your use and counsel, we shall send for you." 

Lingard states that the friendship between the king and the Percies 
had been for some time on the wane. " TTuywext incessantly calling for 
large sums of money due to them for the custody of the marches and the 
expense of the Scottish wars ; he^ whether he were unable or unwilling, 
paid them but seldom and then only by small and tardy instalments." — 
History of En^and. 

How "small and tardy" these instalments were is established by reference 
to the Issue Rolls in which all such payments were recorded, and which 
fully bear out Northumberland's statements in contradiction to the king's 
assertion that he had met their claims. 

» Aurum non habeo — aurum non habehis. 


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you will not help us ? ' * Thou art a traitor ! ' said the a.d 1403 
king angrily, *and wouldst have us help our enemies 
and those of the State/ 'Traitor am I none/ Henry 
replied, *but a true iftan, and as a true man I speak/ 
The king drew his dagger on him.' * Not here/ said 
Henry, ' but in the field,* and so departed/' * 

The rebellion of the Percies was no sudden outbreak, 
but was approached deliberately by distinct stages at 
intervals of time. Their refusal to surrender the prisoners 
was perhaps conveyed in no such positive terms as to 
amount to open disobedience. The alliance with Douglas,^ 
who with his forces took up his quarters at Alnwick, 
followed shortly after by a treaty of peace with Henry's 
declared enemy, Glendower,* were, however, unmistak- 
able indications of disaifection ; while the subscription by 
the Earl of Northumberland, his brother, and his son, 
of the Tripartite Indenture,' which they do not appear 
to have kept secret, constituted an overt act of treason. 

Shakespeare has represented Hotspur as ridiculing 

' " I^ex traxtt contra eumpugionemP lehan de Wavrin in his Chroniques 
tPEngUterre (Dupont, Vol. I. p. 178), so far improves upon this version 
as to assert that the King boxed Hotspur's ears: ''k laquele parolle 
le roy se couroucha, et donna audit de Persy ung grant soufflet" Had 
such an afiront been offered it is probable that the quarrel would have 
been decided on the spot and that the Battle of Shrewsbury would never 
have been fought 

■ Euhgium Histcriarum, Vol. III. 396. 

3 " It was accorded betwixt him and the -said Henry Hotspur, that 
aiding him and his accomplices against King Henry, if it chanced the 
said King Henry to be vanquished and put from the crowne, according 
to their intent and purpose, then should the said Earl Douglas be released 
from his ransom and have the town of Berwick rendered unto him in 
reward of his aid and assistance." — Holinshed's Chronicles ; Scotland. 

4 While Hotspur had made an ally of his noble Scottish prisoner of 
war, his brother-in-law, Edmund Mortimer, had married the daughter of 
Glendower and accepted service in the Welsh army. 

5 Under the terms of this document the kingdom was to be divided 
into three parts : one of which, the English territories to the north of the 
Trent, was to become an independent sovereignty under the Earl of 
Northumberland ; Wales was to fall to the share of Glendower ; and the 
residue of England to the rule of the Earl of March. No project more 
rife with the elements of future discord could well have been devised, 
and it may be doubted whether its realisation would not have proved as 

VOL. I. 213 

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A.D. Glendower's pretensions to supernatural power, and 
1342-1408 denouncing his mystic and prophetic utterances as **a 
deal of skimble-skamble ^tuff." There is no reason 
to believe, however, that he was actually so far 
above the superstitions of his age as to claim exemp- 
tion ' from a belief in soothsayers and omens ; ' and 
the Percies were probably as willing as the Welsh 
magician himself to put faith in Merlin's prophecies, 
more especially when these might be interpreted in 
favour of their own sympathies and aspirations. Certain 
it is that the ^uast-rcligious sanction which attached to 
the acceptance of such predictions would be admirably 
calculated to secure the adhesion and to stimulate the 
zeal of their followers. 

** And now after these shall come out of the North a 
Dragon and a Wolf, the which shall be the help of the 
Lyon, and bring the realme great reste with peace and 
glory, with the most joy and triumph that the like was 

never seen this many yeres before These three 

shall rise agaynst the Moldewarpe, which is accursed of 

God Also they shall thrust him forth from the 

realme, and the Moldewarpe shall flee and take a ship to 
save himself, for he shall have no more power over this 
realme ; and after that he shall be glad to give the third 
part (? three parts) of his realme to have the fourth in 
peace, and he shall not get it, for the will of God is that 
no man shall have mercy but he that is merciful." * 

Oracular and ambiguous utterances of this character 
readily admit of practical application to current events, 
and in the public mind "the Moldewarpe accursed 

disastrous to the nation as the series of civil wars which, from Henry's 
victory at Shrewsbury to King Richard's defeat at Bosworth, devastated 
and depopulated the country, through four succeeding generations. 

' Witness his reflections on missing his favourite sword before the 
battle of Shrewsbury. 

» This prophecy is referred to as a cause of the rebellion, and is 
quoted, more or less at length, by most of the ancient historians, includ- 
ing Hail, Holinshed and Speed 


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of God " came to be easily identified with the un- a.d. 1403 
popular prince who had usurped the throne ; while 
the families bearing the Badges of Dragon, Wolf, 
and Lion, would not be reluctant to recognise them- 
selves under those emblems as the agents predestined 
by Providence to dethrone a perjured and usurping 

Henry's conduct at this juncture is difficult of explana- 
tion. Throughout their hostile preparations the Percies 
had openly courted the sympathy and co-operation of the 
great families of England,' a fact of which the king and 
his Council could hardly have remained in ignorance ; and 
although the state of the Border may have necessitated 
military preparations,* the scale upon which forces were 

now levied in the north could hardly have failed to 
arouse suspicion. 

Yet still the king displayed no distrust, and when in 
the month of May he led an army to the North, his avowed 
purpose was nothing more than to strengthen his garrisons 
against the Scots. 

» Hardyng, in his Chronicle^ asserts that after the attainder of the 
Percies, and when he was constable of Warkworth Castle under the 
Umfrevilles, he had seen letters under their seals from nearly all the most 
powerful lords of England, promising their support to the Earl of 

» According to Fordun, Hotspur had raised powerful armies on 
pretext of taking advantage of the demoralisation produced in Scotland, 
by their losses at Nisbett Moor and Homildon, to over-run their country 
— " to demolish all the fortresses in those parts, and so to go on in a 
kind of regular plan to bum and destroy all before him, without inter- 
ruption, quite to the Scottish Sea;" that in accordance with this plan, he 
laid siege to the Castle of Cocklawes in Teviotdale, but that having 
reduced this stronghold, instead of capturing it, he made terms with the 
garrison, allowing them several weeks for the su.Tender, in order 
to gain time for further increasing his forces, such forces being 
really intended, n6t for the conquest of Scotland, " but that he might 
overthrow his own sovereign, Henry, King of England, as was soon 
after put out of doubt" — Scotichronican^ lib.xv. 1152. There are probably 
some grounds for this accusation, although so deep laid a design was 
more likely to have originated with the Earl of Northumberland, or his 
brother Worcester, than with the impulsive Hotspur. 


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A.D. Even after Hotspur was on his march southwardv 

'^'*!l!'*^ halting here and there to draw recruits to his banners, 
and during his progress making public proclamation of his 
aims and intentions,* Henry continued to affect ignorance 
of any design against his authority, for it cannot be be- 
lieved that he could have really entertained any doubt 
as to the actual situation after he once knew that die 
Percies had advanced with an army from Newcastle. 
He may have thought that by concealing his sus- 
picions he would find it more easy to win over, or at 
any rate to disarm the opposition of, such of the nobles 
as had not already openly thrown in their lot with 
his enemies ; and that an assured confidence on his part 
in the loyalty of his northern subjects would tend 
to weaken the influence of the insurgent leaders. It is 
not, however, impossible that he dissembled, pending 
Hotspur's advance, in the hope of surprising and crushing 
him before he could be reinforced by the advancing 
levies under the earl and the Welsh chieftain. 

On the morning of the 17th of July the two armies 
were within fifty miles of each other, ' Hotspur lying at 
Chester and the king at Burton-on-Trent ; and it was 
doubtless a recognition of the immediate danger of the 
threatened junction with the Welshmen that induced 
the king to throw off the mask. He accordingly issued 
a proclamation, and required the lieutenants of counties 
to raise a levy en masse throughout the kingdom for 
the suppression of the rebellion," though even now in 
addressing the Council he makes light of the matter : — 

* In these proclamations Hotspur spoke of himself as having been 
one of the main instmments for placing the king upon the throne 
(" unus de illis qui maxime agebat ad expulsionem Ricardi et introduo 
tionem Henrici "), but that having now discovered that Henry acted 
more illegally than the sovereign who had been deposed, he was resolved 
to pui:ge the country of its oppressor. — Euio^um Hisioriarunu 

* Fadera, viii. 313. 


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" Toutes voies nous faceons assavoir que Henry Percy a.d. 1403 
qi scst Icvez centre nous et notre regalie come est dit et 
sicome jatarde certifiez vous avons, nous napelle fors 
Henry de LancastrCy et fait aussi diverses proclamacions 
parmy le Countee de Cestre, que le roy Richard est encore 
en vie, a Tentente de xciter notre poeple de lever avec luy 
en afforcan de son faulx propos si ainsi soit, mais 
nepurqant vous signifions pour votre consolacion que le 
Dieu mercy, nous sumes assex fort encountre tous les 
malveullantz de nous et de notre roiaulme." ' 

It was evidently Hotspur's intention, as the king 
advanced in a north-westerly direction, to follow a 
parallel line in the opposite course, on the left flank of 
Henry'slineof march,withaviewto efFectinga junction with 
Glendower in rear of the royal forces, and thus barring 
their retreat ; while his father, approaching with a second 
army, should engage them in their front. Shrewsbury 
was his immediate objective point, as its possession 
would give him the command of the Severn and thus 
facilitate the passage of the Welshmen. This plan 
Henry now determined to anticipate, and with his accus- 
tomed energy and promptitude he suddenly fell back 
upon the threatened city. Hotspur no sooner heard of 
the king's retrograde march than he hastened forward to 
intercept him. 

It was a close race, but the king had had the start, 
and reached the walls of Shrewsbury a few hours before 
his adversary. To these hours he probably owed his 
crown. The citizens threw open their gates, and re- 
ceived their king with the welcome which would 
doubtless have greeted Hotspur had he been the first 
to claim admittance. Having taken the precaution to 
demolish such parts of the suburbs as might have 
afforded shelter to the enemy he occupied the town. 
' Appendix XXVII. 

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A.i>. Hotspur, on finding the king in possession, and de- 

i34«-i4oS spairing of successful attack under existing conditions, 
and with an army exhausted by forced marches, fell back 
upon Little Berwick; and later in the evening, for 
strategical purposes, withdrew yet further to some fields 
to the north of the village where, his right flank resting 
on the Severn and the rear protected by rising ground, 
he encamped for the night. 

King Henry, How bloodily the sun begins to peer 

Above yon dusky hill 1 The day looks pale 
At his distemperature. 
Prince Henry. The southern wind 

Doth play the trampet to his purposes. 
And by his hollow whisding in the leaves 
Foretells a tempest and a blustering day.' 

While Henry is thus represented as watching the sun 
as he rose upon the day destined to decide the fate of 
the House of Lancaster, Hotspur called to his presence 
two of his most trusted esquires, and to their hands 
committed the formidable indictment against the King 
of England, which they were commanded to deliver to 
him in person, \inder the walls of Shrewsbury.' 

This document, the authorship of which was ascribed 
to Richard Scroope, Archbishop of York, but which bore 
only the signatures of the three Percies, was couched in 
simple, vigorous, and very outspoken language, and 
charges the king with a series of crimes for each of 
which he is declared to have forfeited his right to the 
throne. He is accused of being false and forsworn, in 
having broken the oath solemnly made to the Percies 
that he would seek nothing beyond his rightful in- 

» First Part of Henry IV. Act 5. 

« " And all their quarrel they (the Percies) sent unto the King Henry 
in the field writtyn under the seales of theirs and their armes, by Thomas 
Kneyton and Roger Salome, Squyers of Sir Henry Percy." — Hardyng's 


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heritance as Duke of Lancaster; of having caused a.d. 1403 
King Richard to be starved to death ; levied taxes 
without the consent of Parliament, and not only 
usurped the throne to the exclusion of the lawful heir, 
but refused to liberate him, when in the king's service 
he was taken prisoner, accusing those who, at their 
own cost, did ransom him of treason and rebellion, 
for which reasons : " We (the three Percies) defy thee, 
thy aiders and helpers as common traytors and destroyers 
of the realme, and the invaders, oppressors, and con- 
founders of the very true and right heirs of the crown 
of England, which things we entend with our handes to 
prove this daye, Almighty God helping us.'^' Never 
did sovereign receive from subject a more defiant 
challenge ; but Henry's politic temper would not allow 
resentment to hurry him into an act of rashness or 
imprudence. To the surprise of the messengers, and 
the dismay it is said of his own followers,* he dismissed 
them with gentle and courteous words, bidding them 
inform their masters that he would forthwith despatch 
an answer by the mouths of trusty envoys. 

The Bishop of Salisbury and the Lord Privy Seal 
accordingly appeared in the rebel camp, and invited 
Hotspur and Worcester to attend upon the king,^ whose 
earnest hope it was to remove the grievances of which 
they complained, and to avert bloodshed. The motives 
which induced Henry to display this rare modera- 
tion, under conditions which might well have provoked 
anger and retribution, have been variously interpreted ; 
and the notorious duplicity of Henry's nature justly 

* For the full text of this remarkable document, see Appendix 

' Walsingham says that the king, in his anxiety to come to terms with 
the rebels, humbled himself to a degree unbecoming his royal dignity. 

3 Ypodigma Ncustria^ p. 399. 


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A.D. subjected him to the suspicion of setting negotiation on 
1342-1408 f^^^ ^j^j^ ^ ^j^^ ^j^jy ^Q gaining time, and allowing the 

large reinforcements on their way from the south to 
reach him before he engaged in hostilities. Such delay 
would however have been beneficial, in at least an equal 
degree, to his adversaries; for the Earl of Northum- 
berland was approaching with a strong force from 
Yorkshire,' and the scouts of Glendower's army were 
already in sight on the opposite banks of the river. 

It is more likely, however, that the king was 
perfectly sincere in wishing to avoid the impending 
conflict. His courage could never be called in question, 
but he might well hesitate to risk his crown on the issue 
of a single battle while a possibility existed of securing 
his ends by compromise and concession. If he could, 
by fair words and promises, induce Worcester and 
Hotspur to accept terms and disband their forces, not 
only would the rebellion collapse, but the influence of its 
leaders would be weakened, and his own triumph would 
be all the more complete for the magnanimity by which 
it had been achieved. As for any engagements he 
might enter into as the condition of peace, their 
fulfilment would not weigh heavily upon his conscience, 
and might be directed by time and opportunity. 

Meanwhile Hotspur, at the head of his army drawn 
up in battle array, impatiently awaited the return of his 
esquires, litde doubting but that his challenge would 
be answered by the king's immediate advance. The 
arrival of pacific envoys disconcerted him, and, according 
to Walsingham, he felt much moved by his sovereign's 
gracious message. Whether, however, it was from an 
apprehension of being deluded by Henry's persuasive 

' His advance had, unfortunately for his cause, been checked by a 
severe and almost fatal illness with which he was seized while within two 
days' march of Shrewsbury. 


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powers, or, on the contrary, from a mistrust of his own a.d. 1403 
temper in the presence of one by whom he thought 
himself and his house so seriously affronted and ag- 
grieved, he declined to attend upon the king in person ; 
and Worcester, accompanied by one or two knights, 
undertook the mission. The defeated, like the absent, 
are generally put in the wrong; and contemporary writers 
are almost unanimous in attributing the failure of the 
negotiations to Worcester's having wilfully misrepresented 
the purport of the king's propositions/ 

Not only is there an entire absence of evidence to 
justify this harsh opinion, but, setting aside the fact of 
such duplicity being quite inconsistent with the truthful 
and loyal nature universally attributed to him,^ Worces- 
ter could have had no personal reason for refusing to en- 
tertain terms of peace had he believed in their sincerity. 

■ "Contraria referens responsis regiis exacerbavit mentem juvenis, 
(Hotspur) ct ad bellum impulit, etiam non volentem." — Ypodigma 
Neustria^ p. 401. 

" That Achitophel, the Earl Thomas, pretending to be a mediator 
between them, played but false to both, and was, alas I the cause of all 
the ruin." — Capgrave's Chronicle, 

Most of the later historians have echoed these statements, and 
Shakespeare adopted the popular view of Worcester's duplicity, making 
him argue : — 

" My nephew's trespass may be well forgot. 
It hath the excuse of youth, and heat of blood. 
And an adopted name of privilege : 
A harebrained Hotspur, governed by a spleen. 
All his offences live upon my head. 
And on his father's ; we did train him on ; 
And, his corruption being ta'en from us, 
We, as the spring of all, shall pay for all. 
Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know. 
In any case, the offer of the king." 

—First Part oi Henry IV. Act 5. 

* The writers who do not hesitate to brand Worcester with this act of 
perfidy, in other respects hold him up as a model of truthfulness. 
Among other proofs of his proverbial good faith, Froissart declares that 
the continental sovereigns and statesmen were ever as ready to accept 
Sir Thomas Percy's plain word in ratification of treaties and conventions 
as the most formal documents. 


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A.D. Of the two men indeed, Hotspur was always the more 
1342-140 difficult to prevail upon to sheath the sword. It is 
probable, however, that the wary old soldier-statesman 
mistrusted the king ; and that, convinced that he would 
never forgive the Percies for the part they had played, 
or fulfil his promises when once the danger of armed 
resistance had been removed, he had, on those grounds, 
counselled rejection of the proffered terms. 

To Henry's tender of pardon, Hotspur accordingly 
replied, "In gratia tua non confido." " I pray the Lord 
that thou mayest be responsible for the blood to be spilt 
this day, and not I," * was the king s dignified rejoinder^ 
as he gave the order for the advance of his army.' 

Hotspur now bid his page gird him with the sword he 
had worn at Homildon, and on being informed that the 
weapon had been left overnight at the village where they 
had halted ('* ilia parva villa retro se vulgariter Berwicus 
noncupata '*), he changed colour, exclaiming, " Now I see 
that my ploughshare is drawing to its last furrow, for a 
soothsayer once told me in my own country that I should 
perish at Berwick. Alas ! he deceived me by that name, 
which I believed to mean Berwick in the north." ^ It is 
a noteworthy coincidence that Hotspur's first and last 
feat of arms should thus have been associated with the 
name of Berwick. 

Had the soothsayer's prediction, coupled with the 
ill-omen attached to the fact that, on the eve of the 
battle, the comet which had appeared in that year was 
seen immediately above his head,^ cast a shadow over 

■ Eulogium^ p. 397. 

* " Precor dominum, dixit rex, quod tu habeas respondere pro 
sanguine hie hodie efiiindendo, et non ego ! Procede signifer ! (quod 
est dictu en avant baner f) " — Walsingham, Bist. Angi. ii. 396. 

^ '' Super caput Henrid Percy apparuit Stella comata, malum signiiicans 
cventum." — /h'd, 


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Hotspur^s sanguine spirits ? His address to his army a.d. 1403 
was certainly marked by a tone of despondency unusual 
to the light-hearted and victorious soldier. 

" This day/' he said, " will be a glorious one to all of us 
if we conquer, or will set us free for ever if we are 
defeated ; for it is better to fall on the battle-field in the 
cause of the common weal, than after the battle to die 
by the sentence of our enemies." " 

Several hours had been lost in fruitless negotiation, and 
the sun was high . in the heavens before the two armies 
confronted one another in battle array. In point of 
numbers the royalists had considerably the advantage, 
their total beifig estimated at not less than twenty 
thousand men, whereas Hotspur's did not exceed 
fourteen thousand." These were picked soldiers however, 
including the sturdy Northerners whom he had led to 
victory on many a field, and the famous archers of 
Cheshire, of whom King Richard had formed his body- 
guard. Henry s forces were in great part composed 
of raw, untrained recruits, hastily levied in the vicinity 
of London. 

The king's army had advanced from Shrewsbury in two 
columns ; the left under the nominal command of the young 
Prince of Wales,^ resting upon Berwick, and the right 

' ** Pulchrior est in bcllo cadere pro republica, quam post bellum mori, 
hostis nostri sententia." — Walsingham, il 256. 

■ According to Hardyng, Hotspur's force did not exceed nine thousand 
men, but in this his enumeration he evidently omitted the foot 
soldiers : — 

" With Percy was the Earl of Worcester 
With nine thousand gentlesy all that were 
Of knyghts and squyers and chosen yeomanry, 
And archers fine, withoutcn raskaldry,^^ 

A description which recalls Cromwell's rank and file, composed of 
*' no dischjurged serving-men and tapsters, but honest and God-fearing 

3 The influence of popular fiction on historical belief is markedly 
illustrated by the general acceptance, on the authority of Shakespeare, 


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A.D. overlapping Hotspurs left flank* The king himself 
i34«-x4o8 commanded the centre.* The most elaborate word- 
painting of modern '• military correspondents " would fail 
to produce so vivid a picture of the opening scene as 
is conveyed in this simple and concise language of an old 
historian : — 

"Then sodaynly the trumpets blew. The kynge's 
part6 cried, 'Saint George, upon them !' The adversaries 
cried, *Esperance, Percy!' and so furiously the armies 
joyned." ■ 

As the swordsman engaged in mortal combat aims 
at the heart of his adversary, so Hotspur now deter- 
mined to strike at the heart of the army in the person of 
the king. With a band of devoted followers, he made 
a furious onslaught on the centre, where the royal 
standard waved in token of his presence. Nothing 
could resist the impetuosity of the charge ; man and 

of the idea of Hotspur and the Prince of Wales being of the same age. 
King Henry, contrasting Harry Percy's glorious career with the frivolous 
life led by his own son, represents that the heir of Northumberland, 

** Being no more in debt to years than thoUy 
Leads ancient lords and reverent bishops, on 
To bloody battle and to bruising arms . 

Thrice hath this HotspurMarsM swathing dothes^ 
This infant warrior^ m K&enten^rises 
Discomfited great Douglas. . . . ." 

and with the petulance of age grumbles at being compelled, by the 
young prince's want of duty, ** to crush my old limbs in ungentle steel," 
against this youthful rebel. 

In point of fact, the king who complains of his old limbs was then in 
the very prime and vigour of life and precisely the same age as the 
"Mars in swaddling clothes ;" (they were both bom in 1366, and were 
therefore in their thirty-eighth year at the battle of Shrewsbury) ; while 
Prince Henry, who is introduced not only as the rival in arms of the 
most renowned soldier of his time, but as measuring swords with him on 
the battle-field and overcoming him ih single combat, had then barely 
completed his seventeenth year, having been bom towards the end 
of 1386. 

' There is an admirable account of these military operations in 
Blakeway's History of Shrewsbury. * HalL 


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horse go down before its shock as a feeble barrier of a.d. 1403 
woods yields under the rush of the mountain torrent.' 
There is a fierce struggle around the standard ; its 
bearer falls cleft from skull to shoulder; the Earl of 
Stafford, hurrying to the rescue, is slain ; and then a war- 
rior, above whose closed vizor the royal crest glitters, 
engages in a hand-to-hand combat with Hotspur, under 
whose sword he falls. The cry is raised : " The king is 
dead ! Victory ! The king is dead ! " Seized with a 
panic, a large body of the royal forces waver and fly 
from the field ; * but in the van of battle another King 
Henry appears, rallying the troops with voice and 
gesture. The battle-axe of the grim Douglas lays him 
low; but his features again are not those of Henry of 
Lancaster, and still the king is seen wherever the fight is 
thickest. For five hours the battle rages with varying 
fortunes — the combatants reeling to and fro in a deadly 
embrace ; earls and esquires, knights and foot-soldiers 
fighting hand to hand, breast to breast, life for life. 

Suddenly another shout is heard : '* Hotspur is dead ! 
Long live the king I Hotspur is dead ! " Louder and 
louder rises the cry till it swells into a chorus of triumph 
that carries dismay into the rebel ranks. Hotspur is 
dead ! His followers look around in vain for the waving 
plume and the uplifted sword they know so well. Never 
again shall they hear the ringing tones that have so 
often led them to victory ; low lies their hero, trampled 

» Walsingham describes the effect of Hotspur's charge as resembling 
the fall of leaves under an autumnal gale : 

** Igitur ardtenentes Henrid proelium inchoarunt, nee erat ad terram 
jaculis locus, sed in corpore ferrum omne ruit, caduntque de parte regis 
ad instar foliorum deddentium Brumali tempore post pniinam . . . 
Cadunt proinde utrinque plurimi vdut cum ppma ruunt in autumno cum 
moventur ab Africo." — Hist. AngL il 257. 

* "Multaque simul millia de loco belli fugiunt, putantes Regem 
sagittis occisum." — Ibid, 

VOL. I. 225 Q 

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A.D. under the feet of friends and foes, an arrow through his 
T342-1408 brain/ " Young Harry Percy's spur was cold" 

" St George, upon them ! " There is no voice now 
to echo *' Esperance, Percy ! " and, " as if the whole army 
had but one heart, the courage of all others fell into their 
feet, which was now all they trusted to." • 

" The sorrie Battle of Shrewsburie " ^ was a duel be- 
tween King Henry and Hotspur, and now that the Percy 
had fallen the conflict was at an end. What followed 
was but the slaughter of a vanquished and flying host, 
and the relentless punishment of defeated rebellion.^ 

When the brave old Worcester beheld his nephew 
lying dead, tears rose to his eyes, and he exclaimed that 
now he cared not for anything that evil fortune might 
have in store for him.' He had not long to wait ; by 
Henry's command he was decapitated on the field of 
battle.^ By the same authority the body of Hotspur, 
which had found a soldier's sepulture at the hands of a 
kinsman, Thomas Nevill, was exhumed and exhibited, 
"bound upright betweane two millstones, that all men 
might see that he was* dead." ' His head was then struck 
off", and placed over the walls of Shrewsbury, while his 

' All contemporary writers agree in assigning the death of Hotspur to 
an unknown hand. ''Henricus Percy cui fortuna semper hactenus 
blandita fiierat .... quasi solus stans et conclusus trucidatur .... 
dubium cujus manu." — Eulogium, " And Harri Percy after the pro- 
pert^ of his name percid or presed in so far that he was ded, and no 
man knew of whom." — Capgrave's Chronicle, He is generally reported 
to have received his death wound in the act of raising his vizor to 
wipe his brow. * Speed. 3 So called in the Chronicle of London. 

4 The still existing Church of Battlefield is said to have been built 
over the pit in which over four thousand of the Percy host were buried. 
— Blakeway. s Chron, Monast Albani. 

^ His head was placed over the gates of Shrewsbury. — Fadera^ viii 
320. According to Grafton he was carried into Shrewsbury and there 
hanged, drawn, and quartered, but no contemporary writer makes any 
such statement 

7 Chronicle of London. " Sir Henry Percy's hed wis smyte off and 
set up at York lest his men wolde have said that he hadde be alive." 
— English ChrofticU of Richard IL and Henry IV. Camden Society. 


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quarters were distributed among different northern cities a.d. 1403 
to be in like manner exposed/ 

No event in Henry's reign had more tended to the 
stability of his throne than the victory of Shrewsbury. 
Its effect upon his enemies had been in proportion dis- 
couraging, and all the more so from their full confidence 
in the success of the Percies. Nor was this confidence 
without justification, since, but for the delay in North- 
umberland's advance and the unaccountable defection of 
his Welsh allies, the rebel forces could hardly have failed 
to crush the king. No explanation has been afforded of 
Glendower's inactivity at the critical hour. He had 
actually carried his contingent to the river-side while the 
fight was raging, and when his presence on the field 
would in all probability have turned the scale. Instead 
of crossing the ford, however, he is said to have watched 
the battle from the safe shelter of a tree on the eastern 
bank, which long bore the name of Glendower s Oak.* 

" Henricus mortuus decollatur ne sui dicerent eum vivere, et caput ejus 
super portum Eborum ponitur." — ^Walsingham. The Archbishop of York 
denounced the ^^cruentia bestia " of the king in exhuming and mutilating 
the dead body of England's bravest soldier (" Henricus Percy non solum 
semel occidit sed, quantum in ipse est, bis et ter interfecit "), but the object 
undoubtedly was to prevent or dispel a belief in the survival of one whose 
very name was a menace to the stability of the throne. In the Issue Rolls 
by Henry IV., there occurs an entry of 5/. loj. as payment of " various 
messengers " employed in proclaiming Hotspur's death throughout the 
kingdom, and even his wife seems to have been thought a danger to 
the State, since a warrant under the king's hand was addressed to Robert 
Waterton, to arrest the Lady Elizabeth Percy. — Fxdera^ viii. 334. 

» The king subsequently authorised the collection of Hotspur's 
mutilated and scattered remains and their delivery to his widow, as 
well as the burial of the Earl of Worcester's decapitated body by the 
Abbot of Shrewsbury. (See Appendix, XXVIII a.) A tomb in St. 
Mary's Church in that city being opened in the course of some repairs 
in 1816, was found to contain a headless skeleton, and this grave, which 
had long been popularly known as Hotspur's tomb, was not improbably 
that of his unde, Worcester. There is no record of Hotspur's place 
of burial. 

' <' Even from that day misfortune dire, 

As if for violated faith. 
Pursued him with relentless step. 

Vindictive still for Hotspur's death." — Scott. 

227 Q 2 

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A.D. Edmund Mortimer, too, and his young nephew, whose 
1342-1408 cause was the main pretext of the rebellion, are reported 
to have withdrawn from the field even before the balance 
had turned in the king s favour. 

Hotspur's favourite page, Hardy ng, who had been by 
his master's side throughout the fight, and on his fall suc- 
ceeded in making his escape, accuses the Earl of North- 
umberland of having sacrificed his son, "and fayled 
him foule withouten wit or rede*"* But this charge is 
unjust ; for the earl, so prostrated by his illness as to be 
unable to mount his horse,* was being carried forward in 
a litter at the head of his army, when he was met by a 
large body of the king's troops ^ under the Earl of West- 
moreland. On receiving the tidings of Hotspur's 
defeat and death, he fell back; and finally, on being 
refused admittance into Newcastle, disbanded his forces 
and sought refuge in his stronghold of Warkworth. 
Summoned thence to answer for his conduct, he 
attended upon the king at York and made his sub- 
mission. There are different versions of this interview, 
some writers asserting that he threw himself uncon- 
ditionally upon Henry's mercy,* others that he denied 
complicity in the rebellion, representing that he had 
remained neutral, and was on his way to intercede be- 
tween the two parties ; * others, again, that he bore him- 

* Hardjmg's Chronicle. 

* The Metrical Chronicles attribute the earl's condition at this time to 
the decrepitude of old age instead of ilhiess : 

'' So agit was, micht nother gang no ryde." 

He was actually only in his sixty-first year at this time. 

3 *< And soon aifter the Erie of Northumberland came with myty band 
to help Henry his son havynge no knowyng of his deth. Then met him 
the Erie of Westmorland and made him turn ageyn." — Capgrave's 

^ " Non tamen susceptus est fisuniliaritate solita, sed potius more sup- 
plicis, gratiam requirentis." — Walsingham, ii 259. 

5 '* The earl came to the king on the overthrow of the rebellion and 


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himself haughtily and justified the action taken by himself a.d. 1403 
and his family. The materials for forming a judgment 
on the subject do not exist. It stands recorded, however, 
under the earl's own hand,* that he did not repudiate his 
share in the movement but, on the contrary, admitted 
having acted unlawfully, for which offence he claimed the 
king's grace. 

It is evident, however, that while he made a formal 
show of submission, and Henry an equally formal show 
of clemency," neither trusted the other; the one, knowing 
that he had sinned past the royal forgiveness ; the other, 
confident that the deaths of Hotspur and Worcester 
would not rest unavenged by the head of their house. 
Henry accordingly determined to seize the opportunity of 
weakening his still too powerful subject, who was only 
permitted to return to Warkworth on the understanding 
that he should be prepared to surrender the custody of 
his castles in the north to G^mmissioners to be nominated 
by the crown.^ 

A few weeks later the Earl of Westmoreland de- 
spatched Lord Say * to the king, then in Wales, urging 
him to return to the north without delay " pour Testablisse- 
ment du paiis et la sauvacion de la pees, et pour pluseurs 
autres bonnes et necessaires causes celles parties." * 
In this letter it is represented that the adherents of the 
Percies, wearing on their sleeves the badge of the family 

excusing himself as one neyther partie nor knowynge of the doynge or 
enterprise." — Hall. 

» See his petition to the Vmg^^sfea, p. 231. 

■ " The king dissembled the matter and gave him fajrre wordes, fearing 
his power while yet in possession of his strongholds in the north." 

3 Appendix XXIX. 

4 William Heron, Lord Say, a sturdy northern baron, who in his will 
dated in 1404, left to the Earl of Northumberland a legacy of 20/. 
'' I having been a soldier under the said earl and received more than I 
deserved." — Testamcnta Vetusta. 

5 See credentials of Lord Say. Appendix XXX, 


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A.D. (leurs cressans au bras), were spreading reports of the 
13422^408 lying's death and stirring up rebellion among the 
populace, and that immediate steps should be taken for 
obtaining possession of Berwick, Alnwick, Warkworth, 
and other of the earl's strongholds, to which end engines, 
guns, artillery, and other necessary implements of war 
should be provided/ 

Although the king now took the precaution of requiring 
the sheriffs of the northern provinces to call upon the 
inhabitants to take an oath that they would not obey the 
Earl of Northumberland when his orders were at variance 
with those of the Government," the actual custodians of 
the Percy strongholds showed no disposition to transfer 
their allegiance without remonstrance or resistance. Sir 
William Clifford refused to surrender Berwick to the 
king's officers except under condition of Hotspur's son, 
whose guardian he had become, being restored to all 
rights and privileges belonging to him as the heir of 
Northumberland, and of his remaining under his ward- 
ship during his minority. He further stipulated for 
a free pardon for himself and his garrison, and full pay- 
ment of their wages, " as I have layd my trouth of my 
body to soutdiers of the toune and of the castle of 
Berwick, for to paye them fayre wages from the deth of 
my lord Sir Henry Percy." ^ 

' ** Canons, artillerie et autres choses necessaires pour assautes des 
chateaux." This is among the first instances of the word artillery being 
employed in its modem sense, although towards the end of the fourteenth 
century cannon were in general use in siege operations, and Englishmen 
had become so familiarised with the employment of fire arms that 
Chaucer makes use of this illustration : — 

'* Swift as a pellet out of goune 
When fire is in the powder roune." 

— Bouse 0/ Fame, Book iiL (written in 1387). 
' FxderOy viii. 401. 
3 Proceedings of the Privy Council, 


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The earl himself thus remonstrated against the a.d. 
threatened seizure of his possessions : 14032^404 

" To my most dredful and soverain liege lord, I youre 
humble lige beseche youre hyness to have in remem- 
brance my coming to youre worshippe •presence in York 
of my free will, be youre goodly lettres when I put me 
in youre grace, as I that naght have kept your laws and 
statys^ as ligeance askithe, and specielly of gederyng 
of power and gevyng of liverees. At that time I put 
me in youre grace and yet do, ye saying, and hit like to 
your hynesse, that all graceless I shoulde not go. Where- 
fore I beseche you that youre high grace be sene on me 
at this tyme and of other thynges which for example nee 
of I have told you playnly, and of all I put me holly in 
your grace." 

The king it seems accepted this letter as an admis- 
sion of guilt, and submitted it to the law officers as 
the ground of an indictment. The earl, however, denied 
their right to judge him and claimed to be tried by his 
peers, who, concurring in his view,' desired him to 
appear before parliament in his defence. After a pro- 
tracted inquiry, they found that he had committed neither 
treason nor felony, but had been guilty of a trespass ; for 
which he was justly liable to such fine as the king in 
his pleasure should determine." 

Upon this finding his estates were restored to him, 
whereupon he thanked the king and the Lords for their 
" droitural jugement " and the Commons ** de lour bon 

« "The Earl of Northumberland came into parliament before the 
King and Lordes and diere by his petition to the King acknowledged to 
have acted against his allegiance, whereof he craved pardon. The King 
delivered this petition to the Judges to be by them considered but the 
Lordes made protestation against it and that the ordering thereof lay 
with themselves." — Cobbett's Parliamentary History. 

■ " Pas treson ne fdlonie, mes trespas tout soulement, pur quel trespas 
le dit cont deust fayre fyn et ranceon a la volont^ du roy." — Proceedings 
of the Privy Council. 


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A.D. coeur et diligence^' and having first exonerated the Duke 
1342^408 Qf York, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others under 
suspicion, of all complicity in the rebellion, he took the 
oath of allegiance ' to Henry and his heirs. 

The Lords formally returned their acknowledgments 
to the king for his grace and pardon towards their 
brother peer ; and Northumberland, having in conformity 
with the royal command become reconciled to the 
Earls of Westmoreland and March,^ once more retired 
to his northern home partially rehabilitated in fortune,' 
but broken in health and inconsolable under the loss 
of the son and brother he so dearly loved. It had 
been well if his active life had ended here, and he 
had passed his remaining days in the peaceful enjoy- 
ment of the position to which he had now been 

» See Historic Peerage by Sir Harris Nicolas. Taking the oath of 
allegiance seems to have degenerated into a mere formality at this 
period, which was gone through by every knight of the shire or peer on 
each meeting of parliament. 

* George Dunbar, who on being exiled from Scotland had sought 
refuge at Henry's court and fought on his side at Shrewsbury, in return 
for which )ie received a large grant of lands, including the Earl 
of Worcester's house in Bishopsgate Street, under letters patent dated 
8 October 1403. Everything belonging to Worcester, even to his armour 
and clothing, was confiscated on behalf of the crown. Among his 
property we find mention of three silver cups and other pieces of plate ^ 
seized at his residence in Calais by the Earl of Somers,-— /irw^ Rolls 5th, a <^ 
Henry IV. /^ 

3 " Comes Northumbriae restitutus est suae dignitati pristinae, bonisque 
mobilibus et immobilibus, integraliter, et haeredes sui. — ^Walsingham. The 
restitution was very imperfect, and the king's jealousy of the earl's influ- 
ence is shown by his depriving him of his strongholds in Berwick and 
Jedburgh which, under a formal convention dated 9 July 1404, he was 
required to surrender to the royal commissioners in consideration of 
other lands of equivalent value. (See Appendix xxxi.) He was further 
deprived of the high constableship and of the wardenship of the west 
marches, which were conferred upon his rival the Earl of Westmoreland. 
The grant of the Isle of Man was not renewed. *• For rising against 
the king a.d. 1403, though the Earl of Northumberland was restored to 
his former dignity, lands, and goods, the Isle of Man excepted, he was 
presently deprived thereof by the authority of Parliament" — The Sup- 
posed True Chronicle of the Isle of Man^ Towtilefs Journal, See abo 
Foedera^ viii. 398. 


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restored. Conspiracy was once more abroad, however, a.d. 1404 
and it was doubtless an easy matter for designing men to 
work upon the mind of the old earl as by his desolate 
hearth he brooded over the past. Rumours of King 
Richard's survival, and of his raising forces in Scotland 
with a view to the recovery of his crown, were eagerly re- 
ceived, credited, and circulated by the disaffected. North- 
umberland had no reason to believe in a pretender who 
had declined to submit to the ordeal of a personal inter- 
view for the purpose of identification,' but he was none 
the less ready to allow this pretext to lead him into par- 
ticipation in fresh plots against Henry, and even to enter 
into an alliance with the foreign enemies of the state. He 
informed the French ambassadors in Scotland : ** Que a 
Taide de Dieu de la votre et de plusours mes allies, j'ai 
intention et ferme purpos de sustenir la droite querelle 
de mon Souvereigne Seigneur le Roy Richard, sil est 
vif, et si mort est, de venger sa mort, et aussi de sustenir 
la droite querelle.'* * 

Notwithstanding the jealousy and suspicion displayed 
towards him by the king, it is impossible to find an 
excuse for these proceedings on the part of one who had 
so recently received the royal pardon and who continued 
to profess loyalty and attachment to the person of the 
sovereign. The old earl appears, however, to have been 
completely in the hands of the Archbishop of York and 
Thomas Moubraie, the Earl Marshal, the principal in- 
stigators of this new rebellion, which, in spite of King 
Henry's late triumph, threatened to assume very 

» " When the elder Percie did often and importunatelie require to 
talk with him, he could never be persuaded by any man's words to 
come or enter speech to or with the said Earl of Northumberland, fear- 
ing (belike) least his deceipt would be understood by him which knewe 
his owne and true kynge very well" — Holinshead's Chronicle of 
Scotland, See also Buchanan, Rerum ScoHcorum Historic, Lib. x., 
xviL " Rolls of Parliament. 


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A.D. dangerous proportions. Lord Westmoreland was on the 
1342-140 spot to guard the ro3ral interests, and endeavoured to 
counteract treason by treachery. By these means he 
succeeded in getting most of the leaders into his hands, 
but ** Matathyas " knew better than to trust himself in 
the royal power, and thus declined Henry's invitation on 
the plea of illness and old age : 

" Mon tresredoute Sr. Soverain, je me recommans 
humblement a vostre magestee roiale. A la quele plese 
entendre qe jay receu voz honurables lettres Samady, 
tierce jour de Janver present, par les quelles jay entenduz 
vostre bone estat et prosperitee dont je mercie Dieux de 
entier cuer ; et auxi coment vous desirez ma personele 
venue at Westm* pur y conseiller ovesque autres de 
vostre conseille qi y serront en les octaves de Seint 
Hiller prochein ; a la quele matire mon soverain Sr je 
vous supplie qe vous plese considerer ma tarde venue en 
Northumbr', et auxi ma graunde age et fieblesse ; et la 
longe et malveys voie en cest temps de yverne, et sur ce 
avoir la venue de moy a vous a ceste foiz pur excusee 
come celuy qi serra toutdys prest de faire service a vostre 
hautesse a mon petit poiare. Et pleust a Dieu qe je 
feusse en auxi bone poaire de corps et biens come jay 
voluntee de faire service a vous et a vostre roialme. Si 
prie a Dieu, mon tresredoute Sr Soverain, qih vous ottroit 
honuree vie joye et sauntee a treslong duree. Escrit a 
Werkeworthe le xij jour de Janver susdit. 

" Vostre humble, 

" Matathyas.'* ' 

With the execution of the archbishop, Mowbray and 
others who had confided in Westmoreland's solemn 
assurances that his only object in proposing a conference 

' Cotton MS., Vespas. F. xiii. fol. 16. 

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was to enable him to consider their grievances, the a.d. 1405 
danger was at an end, and when the king in person once 
more advanced against his enemies, Northumberland and 
his intimate ally Lord Bardolf * fled across the border and 
sought refuge at the Scottish court. 

Henry met with little serious opposition in the north.* 
One by one, after more or less resistance, the earl's 
strongholds fell into his hands. The captain of Warkworth 
did not yield until after the seventh discharge of artillery ^ 
against the walls, and Henry Percy, of Athol, who had 
been left in command of Alnwick Castle, refused the 
king's summons to surrender until Berwick should have 
fallen : — 

"Wynne Berwick once, he should have his entent,"* 
but these were isolated instances of a hopeless resistance ; 
and the king, dating from " our Castle of Warkworth," 
informs his council that the rebellion was once more 

" De par le Roy, 

" Tresreverent et reverentz peres en Dieu, et noz 
treschiers et foiaulx. Nous vous salvons souvent, savoir 
vous faisantz, a vostre consolation, que nous sumes en 

' A brave soldier animated by a violent hatred of Henry IV., who 
seems, however, to have possessed no qualification for successful 
rebellion beyond his physical powers. — Walsingham describes him as, 
*' Vir armis strenuus et lineamentis corporis ac statura nulli secundus 
in regno." 

■ In January 1404, the constable of Bamborough wrote to inform the 
king that Berwick, Alnwick,and Warkworth were ** held by main force by 
Master William de Clifford, Henry Percy, and Thomas Percy, who will 
hold the said castles against you if they can," and that they had " procured 
for themselves a great multitude of your men and given them the livery of 
the crescent, and have sworn to keep them by force against you and all 
others." — Hingeston's Historic Letters. 

3 Speed says, on the authority of Walsingham, that this was the first 
occasion upon which cannon were used in England, but this is an 

* Redpalh's Border Wars. Hardyng. 


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A.D. bonne sante de nostre personne, la merci nostre Createur, 

1342-1408 qyj ^^ yoxis vuiUe ottroier. Et pour ce que nous savons 

bien que vous orriez volonriers bonnes nouvelles de 

nostre exploit pardeca, vous signifions que puis le chastel 

de Prodhowe, que feut au Conte de Northumbr , estoit 

a nous rendu, nous nous le chastel de Werk- 

worthe ; et a nostre venue illeoqes nous envoiasmes au 

capitain de mesme livree dicel, liquel capitain 

soy tenant assez fort, si bien de gens comme de vitaille, 

et de tout autre estuffe refusa outrement de le 

faire, disant quil vourroit garder le dit chastel al . . . du 
dit Conte. Et ce a nous rapp[orte] pour finale response, 
nous envoiasmes incontinent a ycel chastel noz canones, 
qui y firent a nous tiel service, que dedeinz sept gettes, le 
dit capitain et tous les autres de sa compaignie, criantz 
merci, se soubmistrent a nostre grace en hault et en bas, 
et firent a nous liveree du susdit chastel, a savoir, le 
primer jour de cest mois de Juillet ; dedeinz quel nous 
avons mis noz gens. Et si sont a nous renduz tous les 
chastelx du dit Conte, except le chastel de Alnewike, de 
qui nous confions que par la grace de Dieu, apres si bonne 
et gracieuse exploit de tous les autres, nous averons 
nostre entier desir, et ce en brief, si Dieu plest Tresre- 
verent et reverentz peres en Dieu, et noz treschiers et 
foiaulx, autres ne nous escrivons apresent, mais vous 
prions que prier pour nous vuilliez, et pour lestat et pro- 
sperite de nostre royaume. Et nostre Sr. vous ait tous- 
dis en sa sainte garde. Donne souz nostre signet a nostre 
dit chastel de Werkworthe le second jour de Juillet" ' 

In June of the following year, Northumberland and 
Bardolf were summoned to appear before Parliament to 
answer to their impeachment for high treason within 
fourteen days, after the expiration of which term they were 
in default adjudged traitors and outlaws, with forfeiture of 

* Cotton MS.^ Vespas. F. vii. f. 24. 

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titles and estates, and sentenced to be hanged, drawn, a.d. 
or decapitated at the king's pleasure.' Of the earl's '405-H07 
northern possessions the greater part was conferred upon 
the king's brother, the Duke of Bedford,* and the re- 
mainder upon his queen, who received also a grant of his 
residence in Aldersgate Street, which thenceforth bore 
the name of the Queen's Wardrobe. 

Commissioners were at the same time appointed to 
treat with the Court of Edinburgh for the surrender of 
the two rebel lords in exchange for Scottish prisoners of 
war ; but a timely warning from Sir David Fleming of 
Cumbernauld ^ enabled them to escape by sea and to find 
refuge with Owen Glendower in Wales. 

For two years the great northern chieftain roved a 
houseless outlaw, now in the forests of Brittany, now in 
the Welsh mountains, again on the Scottish border,^ 
whence he made occasional raids into English territory. 
A price had been set upon his head, and it is said that 
one of his former officers, Thomas Rokeby, Sheriff of 
York, anxious to secure the credit of having destroyed 
the king's most formidable enemy, had led his old 
chief to believe that a powerful party only awaited his 
appearance in England to rise against Henry. Trusting 
to these assurances, the earl hastily collected a body 
of troops, and, accompanied by his old friend in misfor- 
tune. Lord Bardolf, crossed the Border and advanced 

» Rolls of Parliament, 7 Henry IV. 

* He had previously received a great part of the possessions of 
Worcester and Hotspur.— /faf/^/ Rolls, 5 Henry IV. The Isle of Man 
was in 1405 conferred upon Sir John Stanley, on condition of his 
providing two falcons on coronation days. The lordship remained in 
this family until 1735 ^^^ i^ reverted to the crown in default of heirs 

3 He paid with his life for this act of friendship, having been assas- 
sinated a few days later by some Scotch lords interested in the con- 
templated surrender of the English outlaws. 

^ See Buchanan, lib. x. xvii. 


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A.D. into Yorkshire, only to meet the death prepared for 
1342-1408 him/ 

17th Feb. On reaching Bramham Moor, near Tadcaster, he found 
himself surrounded by a greatly superior force under 
Rokeby who, '* with a standard of St George's spread, 
set fiercely upon the earl, who, under a standard of his 
own, encountered his adversary with great manhood." * 

Northumberland and Bardolf fought with all their native 
courage, stimulated by the energy of despair, for a felon's 
death awaits those who shall fall alive into the hands of 
the enemy. The unequal conflict is furious, but short ; 
the battle-axe wielded by Bardolf s giant arm deals death 
around with every sweep, until transfixed by a lance 
through his throat he is overpowered, while his com- 
panion, bleeding from many a wound, falls dead. 

" And thus," says the monkish writer, " was the pro- 
phecy fulfilled, * Stirps Persitina periet confusa ruina ; ' ^ 

' The story of Sir Thomas Rokeby*s treachery, though it was adopted 
by more recent historians, among others by Holinshed, rests mainly 
upon the authority of Scottish writers and the English adherents of the 
Percies. Buchanan gives these details : '* Ibi cum de reditu in patriam 
per occultos nuncios frequenter ageret, ad quendam vetustum amicimi et, 
ut putabat, fidum, Randophum Rokesbium scripsit: *Sibi e scotis atque 
anglis non defore copias, quibus fretus patrimonium se recuperaturum non 
desperabat si opera ipsius adjuvaretur.' .... Is, cum falsa spe auxilii 
Percium illuc attraxisset, conjuratione regi indicata, miserum amicum in 
insidias illexit ; caputque ocdsi Londinium ad regem misit." — Lib. x. 
xvil He calls Rokeby Ralph instead of Thomas, but describes him 
correctly as being the Sheriff of York. Fordun (Saftichronicon^ p. 1167) 
speaks to the same effect, alleging that Rokeby had appointed the 
time and place for their meeting, and having prepared an ambush fell 
with overpowering numbers upon his unsuspecting victim. Whether or 
not Rokeby was guilty of this conduct, it appears probable that some 
such ruse had been employed, since Northumberband would hardly 
have advanced as far as Tadcaster with only a small following, had he 
not been led to expect local support. Rokeby was rewarded by a 
grant of Spofforth Castle and some of the Earl of Suffolk's landl — 
FaderOy viii. 529. 

• Holinshed. 

3 Walsingham does not state where this prophecy originated, but the 
statement that the family had now become extinct was accepted by later 
historians on his authority, and may probably have led Miss Strickland 


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for this earl was the stock and main root of all that were a.d. 1408 
left alive called by the name of Percy, by whose misfor- 
tunes the people were not a little grieved, remembering 
his valour, renown, and honour, to whom they applied 
the words of Lucan's lamentation : 

'' Sed nos nee sanguis nee tantum vulnera nostri 
Affecere senis, quantum gestata per urbem 
Ora ducis, quae transfixo sublimia pilo 
Vidimus—" ' 

for his head, full of Silver hoary hairs, was set on a stake 
and openly carried through London and set upon the 
bridge of that city." ' 

In the individual lives of successive generations of 
Percies, from the Conquest down to this period, we may 
trace the growth and development of a system to which, 
opposed as it is to every principle of modern political life, 
and in spite of the vices inherent in a purely military 
aristocracy, England in past ages owed much of her 
greatness and prosperity ; a system which not only 
fostered a manly, national spirit but, by acting as a 

into the belief that Hotspur had died without issue, " as acknowledged 
by all ancient heralds." See Lives of the Queens of England, 

' Pharsalia^ lib. ix. 136. 

• See Appendix XXXI.a. Walsingham adds that the earl's head 
remained on the city walls for a long time, till the king ordered 
it to be taken down, when it was found to be ^ as fresh as ever, and 
kept the same comeliness it had had when living." Another con- 
temporary writer sums up the final chapter of the Percies' rebellion 
in these words: "And the Shrieve of Yorkshire raised peple, and 
took thayme (the insurgent chiefs) and smoot of their heddis; and 
the hedde of the Erie and a quarter of Lord Bardolf were set on 
London Brigge." — Engiishe Chronicle of the Reigns of Richard IL and 
Henry IV, Camden Society. Having caused the usual indignities to 
be inflicted upon the dead bodies of the leaders of the rebellion, Henry 
took pains to win over the disaffected, and within two months after 
the battle of Bramham Moor extended a full pardon to all the Percies' 
adherents who should give in their submission, excepting only Richard 
Darel, Richard Wilkynson, William Winlayton, John Caperon, Thomas 
Brygham, John de Wath de Astynby, and John Roe or Roo. — 
Letters Patent, 25 April 1048. — Faedera^ viii. 520. 


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A.D. barrier against the arbitrary power of the Crown, served 
1342-1408 ^Q secure popular liberties. 

In the wars of King Stephen the Norman Percies had 
represented the early stages of feudalism ; under King 
John, a Percy was among the foremost champions of its 
progress and a prominent figure in its final triumph. 
The Lords of Alnwick, ready as they ever were to fight 
the foreign enemies of the king, were jealous guardians 
of baronial rights against royal encroachment. . In the 
person of the first Earl of Northumberland feudalism 
had attained the zenith of its power ; his fall marked the 
earliest stage of its decline. 

The devastating Wars of the Roses, and the persistent 
policy of the Tudors to vest all authority in the Crown, 
sapped and gradually destroyed the power of the g^eat 
nobles of England, and with it the system which they 
represented ; but the first fatal blow inflicted upon 
feudalism was dealt by the sword which struck down 
the Earl of Northumberland on Bramham Moor. 


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Bom at Alnwick, 3rd February, 1394. 

Restored, i6th March, 141 6. 

Fell at St. Alban's, 22nd May, 1455. 

English Sovereigns, 
Richard II. 

Henry IV. 

Henry V. ace. 1413 

Henry VI. „ 1422 

ENRY PERCY was in his tenth year a.d. 
when, on the overthrow of Hotspur ^39^^-^455 
at Shrewsbury, his widowed mother 
carried him to the Scottish Court,' 
where he was cordially received by 
King Robert, and became the friend 
and intimate companion of his eldest surviving son,' 
afterwards James I. They were fellow students at the 
then recently founded University of St. Andrew's, where 
they had been placed under the immediate charge of 
Bishop Wardlaw, who, apprehensive of the designs of the 

' His signature appears to a charter dated i8th January, 1404, under 
which Robert Duke of Albany conferred certain lands in Clackmannan 
upon his son-in-law, Duncan Campbell of Lochaw. The document is 
preserved among the MSS. of the Duke of Argyll. 

» Prince David, the eldest son, had been put to death by the Duke of 

VOL. I. 241 R 

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A.D. Regent Albany, induced the king to remove the heir to 
'394^455 ji^^ throne for greater security to the Court of France. 
Henry Percy was permitted to accompany him ; but they 
had not proceeded far on their voyage when the vessel in 
which they were embarked ran ashore at Flamborough 
Head/ and the young prince was, in contravention of 
treaty obligations, made a prisoner by Henry IV. and 
detained in honourable captivity for eighteen years. The 
English king would, no doubt, at the same time gladly 
have secured so valuable a hostage for the good conduct 
of the outlawed Earl of Northumberland as the young 
Percy, who appears, however, to have succeeded in 
making his escape and in returning to Edinburgh, 
where he resumed his studies at St. Andrew's, an educa- 
tion greatly in advance of that then accorded to any 
but candidates for the Church or the law. Nor was his 
military training neglected, since he took part in some 
of the civil feuds of his adopted country, and in an 
expedition under the impostor Trumpington, who con- 
tinued to personate Richard H. 

In his own county the son of Hotspur was not 
forgotten ; and although there is no evidence to establish 
that he ever actually recrossed the Border until recalled 
by the grace of his sovereign, the adventures and hair- 
breadth escapes of the young Percy in the course of sup- 
posed clandestine visits to the home of his ancestors 
became the theme of many a Northumbrian legend and 
ballad,' and served to keep alive the hope of the exile s 

» According to David Scott, in his History of Scotland (Westminster, 
1728, p. 222) ; but Buchanan, in his account of this incident, b doubtful 
whether tlie ship went ashore or whether the prince had landed at his 
own request in order to "refresh himself from his sea vomit and 

' As late as in the present century (1819) some of these idle tales 
were woven into a five-act drama and put upon the stage, under the 
title of " Percy's Masque," a composition more remarkable for its bold 


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Google . 


ultimate restoration to the honours and territories of his a. a 
forefathers. 1415^16 

It would not have become him to sue for the favour of 
the sovereign who had defeated and degraded his father 
and overthrown his house; but on the accession of 
Henry V. he lost no time in making an appeal for the 
reversal of the attainder. This claim was supported by 
the powerful influence of his kinswoman (afterwards his 
mother-in-law) Joan, Countess of Westmoreland;* and tfie 
king, partly no doubt from policy, but also, it may be 
believed, from a recollection of the services once rend- 
ered to his house by the Percies, showed his readiness 
to perform this act of grace.* 

The petition was accordingly referred to Parliament, ^ 

who reported that •* le dit suppliant est deinz age, et de- 
tenu en Escose eneontre son bon gri et voluntie'^ and 
recommended compliance with the prayer.^ 

We have here the first intimation of Henry Percy having 
been forcibly detained in Scotland, but there is no evidence 
to explain the circumstances under which King Robert's 
young g^est had become converted into a prisoner of 

disregard of historical fact than for literary merit. The young Percy is 
represented as the leader of a conspiracy against the King of England, 
while serving in disguise and under an assumed name in the household 
of the Earl of Westmoreland, of whose daughter he is enamoured. 
Betrayed by a rival lover, an army is brought against the rebel by Henry 
IV. who is himself made prisoner, and released only on condition of a 
free pardon to all the conspirators and the restoration of the Percy to the 
earldom of Northumberland. 

' She was the daughter of John of Gaunt (consequently aunt of the 
king) and second wife of Rsdph Nevill, first Earl of Westmoreland, 
himself the son of Maud Percy, a daughter of the second Lord Percy of 

• "Such a restitution, besides being grateful to many of the English 
nobility, could not fail to win the hearts of the Northumbrians, 
and it was a point of no small importance to the king to attach 
them to his interest when he was on the eve of a war with France, 
such wars seldom failing to produce an attack from Scotland." — 
Ridpath's Border Wars. 

3 Rot, Pat 3 Henry V. m. 21. 

243 R 2 

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A.D. State.' It may have been either in reprisal for the capture 
1394^^455 Qf Prince James or a device on the part of the 
Regent to enable him to put pressure upon King 
Henry for the restoration of his son Murdoch, Earl of 
Fyffe, who had remained a prisoner in England ever 
since his capture by Hotspur at Homildon. Certain it is 
that the preliminary negotiations for the liberation of 
Henry Percy were based upon his surrender in exchange 
for the son of the Duke of Albany." The treaty appears 
to have been signed in the early part of 141 5, but the 
discovery of the conspiracy of the Earl of Cambridge, 
who in his formal confession implicated not only the Earl 
of March but Henry Percy,^ caused the negotiations to 

' Buchanan makes no mention of the fact, but speaks of the young 
king "qui apud gubernatorem relictus fuerat." Hardyng, however, 
alludes to the son of his patron as having been '' layde in hostage by 
his Graund Sires folly." Holinshead says, ** By the lawes of armes he 
was no captive, yet the unjust detayning of James, the sonne of the 
Kynge of Scottes, stopped the mofiths of the English that they could 
not complayne of any injurie done in deta3niing him ; the doing 
whereof so little offended this Perde, that while he lived he did with aU 
kind of coiurtesie give witness of the humanity showed unto him by the 
Scottes." — Chronicle J vol. v. 411. 

■ The English Commissioners were Richard Lord de Grey and John 
Lord Nevill, who were instructed to deliver up the Earl of Fyffe after 
the surrender by the Regent of ^ consanguineum nostrum Henricum 
Percy ^ nepotem comitis Northumbriae^ quamjam diu habuit in sua potesUUe 
detentusJ* — Fcedera^ ix., 244, 323. Their orders were to convey the 
prisoner from the Tower to Newcastle, thence to Warkworth, and finally 
to Berwick, where the exchange was to be formally effected. In the event 
of Henry Percy not being produced, they were ordered to take Murdoch 
back to the Tower. Before being released the Scottish prisoner was 
required to pay the ransom which Hotspur had imposed eighteen years 
before, while Percy's restoration was made conditional upon his entering into 
a recognisance with the king for the sum of ;^i 0,000. — Proceedings of the 
Privy Council^ vol. il pp. 160 and 162. Yet so poor were both nobles at 
this time that grants of ^^200, and 100 marks, were required to enable 
them to make a suitable appearance at their respective Courts. — Issue 
Polls, 8 Feb., 1416. 

3 The Earl of Cambridge stated that it had been a part of his plan to 
bring into England " that persone wych they namyd Kynge Richard, and 
Henry Percy oute of Scotland, wyth a power of Scottys." — Fotdera^ 
ix. 300. 


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be interrupted. It is not credible however, that at a a.d. 
time when his restoration was on the eve of accom- i4^^7 
plishment, the young Percy should have engaged^ in 
plots for the dethronement of the king, and he ulti- 
mately succeeded in clearing himself from all suspicion. 
In the following spring he appeared in Parliament at 
Westminster, and having done homage* was formally 
reinstated in the Earldom * and in possession of the family 
estates^ on condition of proof of entail by record of 
Chancery, and, shortly after, appointed Governor of 
Berwick, and General Warden of the East Marches 
towards Scotland.^ 

The great bulk of the Percy lands had on the first 
earls attainder been bestowed upon the Duke of Bedford, 
who, on their now being restored to their original owners, 
was granted an annual allowance of 3000 marks in com- 
pensation, until other lands of equivalent value should be 
conferred upon him. The present restitution was how- 
ever far from complete, since the Crown had reserved to 
itself all the lands which the first earl, Worcester, and 
Hotspur, had held in fee simple, and which, according 
to law, should not have been affected by the attainder. 
A subsequent act of Parliament was obtained to 
remedy this injustice.^ Even thus, however, Henry 

' "i^" overtement son homage d Roy notre tris soveraine Seigneur^ en 
manh'e come les ancestres de mime celuy Henry ^ ftls Henry fils Henry ^ 
et autres countes et piers du roialme ont fcUt a mesnu notre Seigneur le 
Roy^ et a ses nobles progeniteurs^ jadys roys iT Angleterre p* devantJ* — Rot. 
Pari, 2 Henry V. 

* See note to Appendix XXXII. 

3 «« Pro restitutione ad nomen et ad omnia haereditamenta." — Patent 
Rolls, 3 Henry V. " Eum non solum honorare statnens ejus re* 
vocatione, sed ut sublimaret comitis Northumbrorum nomine et digni- 
tate." — Walsingham. See Appendix XXXIL 

4 *'With same powers as Lord Grey formerly had«" — Rot. Scot^ 4 
Henry V., 23rd Feb., I4i7« 

5 See Appendix XXXIII. 


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A-D- Percy did not succeed to the full possessions of his 

According to popular report the young Percy had 
been clandestinely married to the Lady Alianore Nevill ' 
at the Wark worth Hermitage some years before his 
restoration, during one of his stolen visits to England.^ 
This romantic story, however, is discredited by the fact 
that the lady had been previously contracted, if not 
actually married, to Lord Spenser, who did not die until 
the end of 1415/ 

About the time of his own marriage, Henry Percy's 
only sister, Elizabeth, became the wife of John, Lord 
Clifford, and after his decease, four years later, of the 

* In the succeeding reign he procured an Act of Parliament enabling 
him to obtain possession of all the lands which his grandfather, his father, 
and the Earl of Worcester had held in fee tail, at the time of their 
attainder, which formed a very considerable addition to his landed 
estates ; but Prudhoe Castle was not restored to him until after a long 
Utigation, in 1441 (Appendix XXXIV.), and Wressil remained to a yet 
later period in possession of the Crown. 

• One of the twenty-two children of the first Earl of Westmoreland, 
a contemporary of the first Earl of Northumberland, but who survived 
him for more than twenty years. The frequent alliances which took 
place between the Percies and Nevills do not appear to have conduced 
to harmony, the two houses having, as a rule, been opposed to one 
another, in the field as well as in the Council, until towards the end 
of the sixteenth century, when they were united in a common ruin. 

3 The Bishop of Dromore adopted the tale in his charming poem, 
the Hermit of Warkworth^ on the authority, it would seem, of a gos- 
siping monk, who attributes the exertions of the Countess of Westmore- 
land to bring about Henry Percy's restoration to the fact of his being at 
the time the husband of her daughter. — See Ex Registro Moftasterii de 
Whitbye^ Harl MSS., No. 692, 26, FoL 235. The date of the marriage 
is nowhere recorded ; but the numerous births succeeded each other 
with unfailing regularity year by year, and, as the first child was not bom 
till 1 41 9, we may assume that the marriage took place in the preceding 

^ In the old genealogical tables the second Earl of Northumberland is 
stated to have married the widmo of Lord Spenser ; but as that noble- 
man died in his fifteenth year, the probability is that they were simply 
"contracted" or if married, only nominally so. He was the son of 
Thomas Spenser, or Despenser, Eari of Gloucester who had been 
executed for treason in 1400. 


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^ ciid tV't .-iiC'cf^J to \]]'^ h'il rj.?i^sfs >;jns of !" 

.\. . ' .•;..:\.^ t.) J. j^'iilar report iho yoiUK^ li-'y 
l-rt,.:! ' ' ^•■' ^^L't \' rr.ciiri'.-d to t-:*.. La/yAp -.H''"* .''. -. "■' 

*■-..;■ :r'' t'*, ;1 :• '.^ ori'.' of his Stol^Mi \ '''iCh to Li- • -: ' ' 
..• .:. su rv, h''AV<;ver, is d'lcr^^Ij'tr J 1 y tl , 1 . * 
::'o '.. .y !_d bi* :i prcvi<.)<!.^!y rnntr icf, '.!. '•' r.- : 
» ^. - ^ '', to Lord bpen^cr, w!; • t.^id n..-t -.lie j'^:- 

:: :':• t-'-ne t.'f his own f:Kir.wi:^c, 1 u*r.ry i\ v y'> 
. i.!:za*'e:li, bccann; t!: * \v;!*e of N'i-"*, 1- -" ^ 
.■ ;.ft'r his dcccc^sc. iouv )\-ars ]; lt*r, .'f .. 

i - .^ 

. • :.:.' Vc T.roour- d at) Aa c P."'* *r-^- p: . .. • 
• r .Ji .he luPd:* w^iici h-' .;m'.;; 1 1. i ■- • 
..' had hcid ill uc ta-i, it mk. ,i;i-. '*• • 
... .••; *. • ■<■*) a vcT) Cir.i- dciJ'.l : .iu ' lion !i f. - ' ' 

islii . • : ' ; Cu.slW" was r.r\* rf;.t'M -.J lo Ivni 'jai.i .:''\'r .« 

ii' .•" , ,;' '.\\'\'i'oO'\ .XX\i\'J, aad WiCi.'-il KLi : ', -u ' :■ , 

* (;?. ' <'f Mc t v.:*Ky^tW'> chii'ircn (;f the tkst Ka^l o** Wc^ii;.' * . • 
a '-f^i t' •»■, M!y "t :\- nr^t K-irl ol' N ■rifi'.nL', ^'di ^\:,'' :^ ^-^ 

I' ■'! t».- !,i(,rc *' ill t\vt ' ry ) ^'irs. Th'* fic<| 'c:»: * 1!;.'.t< -'S >•."*.!- 1 • 
j>ia'\ twcui *! 'J Pi.-rciv'^ .Uj(! I. •'. -..^ do not a[)U«.^i' t . :,:r ^ •< * ■: ; 

Mr-'lKf, in t''e '■■•'I'.i n< ;v 11 .'is .'n th. < .•"•■it^ \K ur.Ml t^ *• u^!-^ •■ ,■ ' 
^;t tho -i^t.jtjiun centn:y, \\l.i.r! thc\ v. -v Tai/u m r- <'tjTnri. ■. • » 
^ 'I'he Kisit'i;) of l>i<>:ii'ji\' ;.th ^itr.J t. l t .1l m h - charr'ii.: .; 
Mie Jlervt'i oj ^/ *7/-VaV'/.V/, cmi the a!j*!u>r:Ty, n w<Mi!u i=n ■<>. ♦•' . ^■ 
*:;>'i.j^ ni >iik, wt^ attr'tuitj> tlu- cxtr'i n< of tiv' * .>uptv^s , : ''. .• *". 
l:nv! to i4n:ii r«fn>'!t Jlcnrv P*:r('y's *-t vt.)!.i»ion to*. < :'.; t ^ ; ^i- ' . . 
ti V *!:m': tht: h.'shu'd of hiT ci..t']sy t«-iV" -.'fc.: A'.c /. ^vf-v ' -'/• '■(•* " ''-'* 
\Vhi:r\t^ \\:i\. .\:>>., No. ''^ 'J, -',, Fol. '/;s T ••* .lute ^'f *' ■ ^ •": ■ 
is n*_vVvi;crc if (»f'.K' ' . hi.t the numerous bin'.-- v'.< t;-:<h'*^ okI, ■ 
^Mih iinfaiilnj^ i^..^ -'iaritv ,:at mv yc.;r, ai;i, '7s ' .v ' • ^t rl.ii-i v .u not ' 
lj!i T |iQ, we iiiay a-ssu:nc liiat t!ic "vrfi.-i.". t*- -k i>i.^cc ii: t'.. ;< ;* . 

♦ I'll the olti ]L:enL*jh-'i( nl tahlc^' tlic sore- ^d I'.irl ofNorthtu. ':.* .... 
.'t;»r'.'d to Ila^e ni..rru u me ' lu 7-' ot" l ^ \A Sj-^n^rr ; b it a*^ *hal rj 

» . in died in Ills h:"ioeiit: year, the pn^'.al ■^.^y is that they were w- 
."'-''.v:tcd ■' or it inaTriod; oniy n.)'inna':\ s<-. lie w.ts th.- >* ■ 

'! • ...s ^penstI, or. DcSKcn.icr. .if.i'l -J Glourcstcr \**\l' • . 
V -i; d fo^- ticM-on in 14OV. 

. 24.6 

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^ .-.' 

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second Earl of Westmoreland.' Although Hotspur's a.d. 141 8 
two children thus married the one a daughter and 
the other a grandson of Ralph Nevill, there was no 
disparity of age in these alliances, since the Earl of 
Westmoreland's grandchildren by his first were older 
than his children by his second marriage. 

It is to be regretted that the writers of this period 
rarely, if ever, relaxed from the dignity of history to 
indulge in those literary recreations which serve to 
illustrate domestic life in its more familiar and intimate 
relations. The actions of men afford but a one-sided 
picture of the social system, and it would be an interest- 
ing and grateful task to gauge the extent of the influence 
of women at a time when the spirit of chivalry had 
begun to exercise a refining and softening influence upon 
manners, and necessarily altered the character of the 
relations that had previously existed between the sexes.* 
French literature of this period did not disdain to occupy 
itself with this subject ; but of the home life, the social 
status, and the intellectual condition of the women of 
England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,^ we are 
more ignorant than of the domestic economy and family 
relations of Greece and Rome under Alexander and the 

' The grandson of the first earl, whose son had pre-deceased 

» Hardyng has given us minute details of the training of a young 
noble, but although, as a page in the Percy household, he must have had 
ample opportunities of observation, he makes no allusion to the educa- 
tion, pursuits, or habits of the ladies of the family. 

3 A centiuy later we b^n to be admitted to personal acquaintance 
with English gentlewomen, and may note with admiration, not immingled 
with surprise, how high a degree of culture they had then as a class 
attained, and how powerful an influence they exercised. 

^ In the charming scene between Hotspur and his wife, to which 
Shakespeare introduces us, the hero's playful and affectionate manner 
indicates but little respect, while the lady herself appears somewhat frivo- 
lous ; but in another passage (Second Fart of King Henry IV,) Hotspur's 


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^'^' Popular rumour had occupied itself with the youthful 

1394^455 iQy^s q( j1^^ £2^fl g^^j Countess of Northumberland, but 

of their married life little is recorded beyond the fact 
of her having borne her lord twelve children and 
survived him eight years.' We hear of the king 
being entertained at a banquet at Leckinfield, and 
again we catch a glimpse of the earl proceeding 
with his wife and children from that place to Beverley, 
for the purpose of witnessing the Corpus Christi Plays 
periodically acted in that town, and which, like the 
Bavarian Passion Play of the present time, occupied 
eight or ten successive days in representation ; * but so 
far from being admitted into the domestic circle we are 
not even able to ascertain at which of his numerous 
northern seats ^ he principally resided. 

The young earl ever retained a grateful recollection 
of the kind treatment he had met with at the Scottish 
court, and in the negotiations for securing a permanent 
settlement of the disputes between the two kingdoms in 
which he now became frequently engaged, he was doubt- 
less more in earnest than most of his ancestors had 

widow is represented as an eloquent and high-minded woman, urging her 
views upon the Earl of Northumberland with no sense of intellectual 
inferiority. These pictures, however, cannot be considered as in any 
way historical; even the name by which Hotspur calls his wife is 

* As a widow in 1459, and again in 1461, she made grants of the 
advowson of the parish church of Leckinfield and of certain lands to 
the convent of St. Mary, Alnwick. — Calend, Jnquis, ad quod damnum^ 
37 and 39 Henry VI. 

* See Poulson's Beverlac, The town of Beverley being an ecclesias- 
tical fief, the burgesses sought the support and protection of the power- 
ful nobles, and more especially of the Percies, to whom they made 
ft-equent " offerings and oblations " in return for their favour. Among 
others, diere is an entry, in 1456, of a gift of ;^3 to Maisier William 
Percy (afterwards Bishop of Carlisle) in honour of the celebration of 
his " prime misse." 

3 See Appendix XXXV. 


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been.' Unfortunately these efforts, perfectly sincere on a.d. 1419 
the part of both Governments, were continually defeated 
by the unruly spirit of the Borderers, whose excesses 
it was impossible to restrain. In the midst of the 
deliberations of the Commissioners a destructive raid, 
frequently followed by a retaliatory massacre, would 
arouse the anger of both nations and neutralise the 
action of the peacemakers. 

Thus in 14 19, Sir William Haliburton without provo- 
cation crossed the Tweed, and, having surprised Wark 
Castle, massacred the entire garrison and hoisted his flag 
in defiance on the battlements. The Earl of North- 
umberland at once advanced and laid siege to the place, 
which was obstinately defended. Some of his troops, 
however, effected an entrance by night through a sewer, 
and, having overcome the enemy, slew every Scotchman 
within the walls.* 

The fifth Henry had no sooner ascended the throne 
than he gave evidence of the vigorous action which, no 
less in obedience to his own warlike tastes than to his 
father's dying injunctions, he purposed to pursue towards 
France. In spite of the drain upon the resources of 
England caused by our continuous wars in that country 
for the greater part of a century, he knew that in renew- 
ing these he might not only reckon upon popular 
support, but that they would serve firmly to establish 
him in the national favour. An Englishman of that age 
had come to consider dominion over France much in the 
same light as he now views British supremacy in India ; 

' It would be wearisome to recapitulate his numerous employments 
as Commissioner, Conservator of the peace, Arrayer of armies and fleets, 
and other public oflices in the north during this and the succeeding 
reign. They are all duly recorded in Fadtrcu 

' Holinshead, v. p. 411. 


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A.D. and by re-conquering French territories, lost or ceded 
^39^455 during the two preceding reigns, and once more prac- 
tically asserting his right to style himself King of 
France, Henry felt that he would do more to confirm his 
precarious title to the English crown than his father 
had effected for the validation of his claims by all his 
politic devices and audacious frauds. "^ 

He was not unconscious of the moral weakness of his 
cause, of the legal strength of that of his adversaries, 
nor of the fact that a large and powerful section of the 
nation looked upon his dynasty with a passive dislike and 
suspicion that only required opportunity to be kindled 
into active opposition. Never was there a more favour- 
able moment for the exercise of that common resource 
of immoral statesmanship which consists in diverting 
domestic difficulties by the prosecution of a popular 
foreign war ; and the young king, with his habitual 
sagacity and resolution, now threw himself upon national 
sympathy for the realisation of his ambitious schemes. 

Henry Percy, who to his dying day repaid the favour 
of his sovereign with unfailing attachment, lost no time 
in giving practical evidence of his zeal and loyalty. He 
was still an exile in Scotland when the king embarked 
on his first campaign against France in 141 5, and was 
thus excluded from participating in the victory of 
Agincourt' No sooner was he restored, however, than 
by an indenture dated 30th May, 14 16, he bound himself 

' Banks, in his Extinct Baronage of England^ states that the second \ 

Earl of Northumberland had taken part in this battle ; and Wainright, Hl 
in his History of Yorkshire^ speaks of him as " this noble and ma^ani- I 

mous veteran who had gallantly distinguished himself at Agincourt ; " • 

but this is clearly an error. The only Perdes who shared in that victory 
were Sir Henry (of Athol) and his brother Sir Thomas, the former with 
" six men-at-arms and eighteen horse," and the laUer with " two men-at- 
arms, William Fayrechylde and William Fowley." — See Nicolas's Baitie 
* ^.» of Agincourt. 


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to serve the king abroad with forty men-at-arms (of a.d. 
whom four were knights) and eighty archers,' and by '4i5"^Q 
his example and influence induced other of the northern 
nobles who had hitherto remained aloof to rally under 
the banners of Harry of Monmouth. He does not, 
however, appear ever to have held an important 
command, or to have played a prominent part in these 
wars. We miss the mention of individual prowess on 
the part of the Percies, which is of such frequent oc- 
currence in the campaigns chronicled by Froissart, and 
almost the only notices we find of the young earl are 
that he embarked for France with a certain number of 
followers at different dates, or that he figured in the 
royal retinue among the numerous nobles by whom 
Henry loved to be surrounded. We thus hear of him 
as one of the ten earls who accompanied the English 
king on his triumphant entry into Rouen, in 141 9, and 
again at the siege of Melun in the following year, when 
the number of English earls and barons carrying banners 
in the royal train amounted to twenty-three. When, 
after an almost unbroken series of triumphs and 
victories, Henry concluded peace on the basis of his 
marriage with a daughter of France, and his succession April 9th, 
to the throne of that country,* Northumberland took '4^^- 
an active part in the pending negotiations, and finally 

* His own pay was fixed at four shillings, that of the knights at two 
shillings, the men-at-arms at one shilling, and the archers at sixpence a day. 
— Fcsdera^ ix., p. 356. It must be borne in mind that each man-at-arms, 
being accompanied by his squire and lance-bearer, represented three 
mounted men, and sometimes even more. Vaillant, in his History of 
France^ puts 3000 men-at-arms as equal to a force of 12,000 men. 

« In this treaty Henry is described as " By the grace of God King of 
England, Regent of France, and Lord of Ireland," and under the sixth 
clause of the Articles it is stipulated that, on the death of King Charles, 
•* the crown and realme of France, with all rights and appurtenances," 
shall devolve upon Henry and his heirs for evermore." — Fxdcra 
ix. 877. 


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3ist, 1422. 


4.D. officiated as Lord High Steward on the occasion of the 
^394-1455 queen's coronation.' 

*^"??L Henry's death in the flower of his manhood was 
perhaps the greatest calamity that at that juncture could 
have befallen England. Never was it more indispensable 
to the prosperity of the country that the sceptre should 
be wielded by a strong hand than now when the usurped 
crown devolved upon an infant in the cradle. 

The brilliant military successes achieved under the 
late king, had given to his throne a stability which could 
defy the intrigues of all rival claimants ; but it could 
hardly be expected that under the divided rule of a 
long regency dynastic dissensions should not revive, and 
it required no prophetic inspiration to enable Henry, 
already smitten by the fatal illness that hurried him to 
an untimely grave, to foreshadow the fate that awaited 
his unhappy son." 

The death of his benefactor had not weakened the 
Earl of Northumberland's zeal in his cause. He became 
at once one of the assistants to the Duke of Bedford in 
the Protectorate, ** the which Lords ben condescended to 
take it upon them in the manner and form that sueth," ^ 
and a member of the king's Council. He was actively 
employed in the duties of executorship under the will of 
Henry V., and in the following year proceeded as Am- 
bassador to the General Council assembled at Paris. -• 

' The ceremonial was followed by a lenten dinner on an enormous 
scale, the curious details of which are given by Holinshead, iii. p. 125. 

* On receiving the tidings of the birth of an heir at Windsor, " were 
it that he were warned by some prophecie, or had some foreknowledge, 
or else judged himself his sonnes fortime, he said unto the Lord 
Fitzhugh, his trusted chamberlain, these words ; — * I Henry, bom at 
Monmouth, shall small time reigne and much get, and Henry, born at 
Windsor, shall long time reign, and all loose.* " — Holinshead. 

3 Rot Pari, I Henry VI. 

* He was granted the sum of 66x. %d. a day while employed on this 
service (Fxdera^ x, 271), and ;^ioo "for wages of the said Erie 

252 / 

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We find him frequently presiding as judge in courts a.d. 
of chivalry and in questions of disputed precedency/ ^422-25 
and on one occasion he appeared as the principal in a 
dispute with a Cumbrian knight who had challenged his 
right to a certain manor of which he held possession. 
Instead of referring the question to a legal tribunal, it 
was determined to decide it by a combat between two 
champions to be chosen by the disputants. 

The case is fully reported, and affords a curious 
illustration of the manners of the age.* 

"Sir Peter Cokain (? Cockaigne) Knight, presents 
Brief of Right against Henry Percy, in the County of 
Northumberland, for the Manor of Cappenhou in the 
County of Cumberland ; Strange for the Tenant joins 
Battle upon the ' meer Right ' by the Body of Coltson, 
if God give him success, and Paston for the Demandant 
rejoins Battle by the Body of his Free Tenant or 
Freeholder J. P. if God give him success. 

"And it was commanded to the Champion of the 
Tenant or Holder of the said manor {scilicet the Earl 
of Northumberland) that he should put into his Glove 
five pence, into each fingerstall one penny, and that he 
should hold it in his right hand naked to his Elbow, and 
that he should throw down his glove into the Court, and 
it was commanded to the Champion of the Demandant 
to do in like manner. 

" Brown and Clerk received the Gloves, and it was 
commanded by the Court that they should come the next 

in going and returning upon the embassy aforesaid." — Issue Rolls^ i 
Henry VI. 

' These were solemn tribunals held under the authority of Parlia- 
ment, as in a dispute between the Lord Marshal and the Earl of 
Warwick, when Northumberland was elected umpire. — Rot ParL^ 3 
Henry VI. 

« The document in its original Law-Court French, is preserved 
among the MSS. at Syon House. 


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A.D. morning in their array. And then the Champions 
'394^^455 came .... and Babington commands to the Champion 
of the tenant that he should mount behind the Bar, and 
that he should come into his place bareheaded and 
ungirt without hose or shoes, and it was commanded 
of him to be upon the east side of the place, and that 
the Champion of the defendant should come in like 
guise, and be on the left of the place. And then the 
Champions being on their knees before the justices, and 
the Chief Justice demanded of Strange and Paston, who 
were with the parties, if they had anything to say why 
the two champions should not be allowed by them, or 
why the two champions should not join in (dtrretgner) 
this Battle, who said they had not. Cokain then said, 
*See that they are without men,' and then Brown gave the 
gloves and searched if there were in each glove five 
pence, or not, and he found in each glove five pence, 
that is to say, in each finger {fingstal) one penny. And 
then he gave one glove to the Champion of the tenant 
and one glove to the Champion of the defendant, but he 
took no notice which of the gloves he gave to the one 
or to the other for this is unimportant {car il nest pas 

The Champions being asked whether they were 
prepared to do battle, and both answering in the 
affirmative the justice inquires of Paston and Strange 
if they had mispleaded, or not sufficiently pleaded, or 
wished to amend their pleas, or if the Court had mis- 
ruled, or whether from any other cause it was desired to 
delay the Battle, and no objection being raised on either 
side the Justice said : 

'* We award the champions to be here in the Place 
in their array to do the battle on Saturday next ensu- 
ing .... and he gave one glove to the one champion, 
and said to him : ' This day is the day of St. Paul, and 


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therefore we command that thou go to St. Paul's, and a.d. 1425 
there before tfie North Door pray that God would give 
the Victory to him that hath a right to the land.' In 
the same manner he gives the other glove to the other 
champion and commands him to go to Westminster 
Abbey and there make his prayer as aforesaid at the 
shrine of St. Edward .... And it was commanded to 
the ruling Parties that they should give surety that their 
champions should not approach or speak to each other. 
.... Then the Court first called for the Demandant, 
Sir P. C, and he appeared by his attorney and had his 
champion ready at the Bar all arrayed in Red Lead 
{en redde Ledd)y and was commanded that one should 
hold the Ruby shield and the Ruby Baton behind the 
champion's back which was done accordingly, but 
neither his head was shaven as the head of a Prover or 
Challenger is, nor had his Baton a knob (iin knowe) at 
the end as the Baton of a Prover or challenger should 
have ; but it was said by Martin when he saw this Baton 
that in truth it should have had a knob at the end, to 
which no answer was made. 

"Then was the tenant, Sir Henry Percy, Earl of 
Northumberland, solemnly demanded that he should 
come with his champion to darraign this Battle in his 
defence against the said Knight, Sir Peter Cokain, and 
his champion for the Manor of Cappenhow in the County 
of Cumberland, or otherwise the said Earl should lose 
this land for himself and his heirs for ever, and all 
this was demanded three times by command of the 

The Earl failing to put in his appearance, the Court 
awarded sentence ia favour of Sir Peter Cokain, granting 
him and his heirs the land in dispute, and that the Earl 
should be " placed at the king's mercy " ; but being a 
Peer of the Realm that the Court would not impose a 


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AD. fine upon him, but leave him to be amerced according 
1394-1455 ^Q j^is ^jij^ ^jjj estate by his brother peers, '' et totU ceo 
fust solemneint fatty 

It may be presumed that the Earl, having, in the course 
of these proceedings, satisfied himself of the justice of 
his adversary's claim, withdrew his champion, and sub- 
mitted to be mulcted in the penalties awarded by this 
strange tribunal. 

• « 

The Earl of Northumberland took a very active part 
in maintaining rule in the north, as Warden of the 
Marches and Governor of Berwick,' and in 1424 joined 
the expedition to France under the Duke Regent, Bedford, 
which resulted in the brilliant victory over the army of 
the Comte de Narbonne at Vemeuil. 

In Parliament he distinguished himself by his zeal 
in the king's service, and appears to have shown con- 
siderable capacity for the conduct of public business, 
raising, and even personally guaranteeing, national loans,' 
and conducting several important negotiations with 
foreign courts. 

The liberation of James of Scotland had been more 
than once under consideration during the late reign, but 
Henry V. could not be induced to part with a prisoner 
whose presence with his armies in France, was cal- 
culated to weaken the zeal of the Scottish levies fighting 
against him in that country.^ On the death of the Duke 

» He had held both these offices under successive patents since 
142 1, when the pay for the wardenship was fixed at ^5000 a year in 
war and ^2500 in peace. — Fcidera x. 126. 

* On Parliament repudiating a loan made by the Bishop of Winches- 
ter, the earl became personally responsible for the repayment, in con- 
sideration of the money having been lent to the king "^ sa grande 
necessity:' Rot Pari, 18 Henry VI. 

3 This effect would have been produced to a far greater extent, but 
that the Earl of Buchan had induced many of the Scottish lords in the 
service of France, to refuse to acknowledge James as their sovereign 


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of Albany, who as Regent had administered the govern- a.d. 1423 
ment of Scotland since 1406, he was succeeded by his 
son Murdoch (who had been exchanged for Henry 
Percy in 1416) but who proved utterly incapable of 
maintaining order in his dominions. An opportunity 
was thus afforded for restoring James to the vacant 
throne upon conditions very favourable to England.* 

Unjust and arbitrary as had been his capture and his 
detention for eighteen years,^ James had no reason to 
complain of the treatment he had met with at the 
English Court. His education had been conducted with 
scrupulous care, and had resulted in his acquiring ac- 
complishments then unknown in his own country.^ He 
had been trained in the conduct of State affairs, and had 
acquired much experience in military matters during 
successive campaigns in France, in which, false as was 
his position, he bore himself bravely and honourably. 
He was generous enough to remember these benefits 
rather than the pains of captivity, and throughout his 
reign he exerted himself to maintain friendly relations 
with England, although he could not always curb the 

while he was a prisoner of the King of England. So constant and valuable 
an ally did France in those times find in Scotland that it was a common 
saying, attributed originally to the first Earl of Westmoreland : — 

"He that would France win 
Must with Scotland first begin." 

' The principal terms of the treaty were the acknowledgment on the 
part of King James of the suzerainty of the King of England, his mar- 
riage with an English lady (a daughter of the Duke of Somerset), and 
the payment of 40,000 marks, an unworthy exaction, as the charge of 
personal maintenance during his illegal detention. — Fctderay x. 299. 

• Once only during that period James had been permitted to visit 
his kingdom, when the Earl of Northumberland was required to receive 
hostages for his return. — Letters Fat,y 6 Dec, 1416. Fcsdera, ix. 417. 

3 <* He had such perfect instructors to teach him as well the understand- 
ing of tongues as the Sciences that he became quite expert and cunning 
in every of tiiem. ... He had good knowledge in musike, and could 
plaie on sundrie instruments right perfectlie." — Holinshed, vol v. 408. 

VOL. I. 257 S 

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A.D. turbulent spirit of his people, and proved unable to break 
1394^^455 Qjff the alliance with France. 

It became the grateful duty of Northumberland to escort 
the royal companion of his boyhood, now about to take 
his seat on the Scottish throne, from Durham to the 
Border,' and when, some years later, a conference on 
1423 English ground was arranged between James and the 
Cardinal St. Eusebius, the earl selected Berwick as the 
place of meeting, and there attended upon the king for 
sixteen days with a retinue of one hundred horsemen." 

A less agreeable duty was the collection of the royal 
ransom, which had remained in arrears for a long time, 
and which the earl was personally interested in receiving, 
since it was made the source of his military emoluments, 
or, more accurately speaking, of the pay of the king's 
garrisons in the north. ^ 

With the best intentions King James was unable to 
put a stop to the constant depredations of the Borderers, 
or the more serious raids of his unruly nobles, and these 
increased in number and violence towards the end of his 
reign.'* In 1435 ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ Northumberland, to provide 
against a threatened invasion, requested and obtained the 
royal license to inclose and fortify the town of Alnwick,* 

» " Cum omni quo vaietis honore*^ — Fttdera^ x. 332. 
• The sum of ^feso was granted him for his "grete cost and expense " 
on this duty. — Issue RoUs^ 8 and 9 Henry VI. 

3 By Letters Patent of 9th June, 1425, the earl was authorised to 
retain for payment of the troops in Berwick the sum of ;^2,ooo, remitted 
to him by die King of the Scots as an instalment of his ransom. — 
Fouiera^ x. 344. 

4 Aeneas Sylvius, Concilia Scotia^ p. xcvi. — Appendix XXXV a. 

^ '* De advisamento et assensu concilii nostri, concessimus licentiam 
Car™* Consanguine© nostro, Henrico Com. Northrise, diets viilae et castri 
ac burgensibus ejusdem villas quod ipsi dictam villam de Akiewyke, 
legitime includere, et murare circa totam villam prsedictam, ac muros 
ejusdem villae batellare, necnon alias res defensibile quicunque drca et 
suprae osdem muros facere et ordinare valeant, absque impeditione 
quicunque."— ^<7/. Paty i June, 12 Henry VI. See also Petyt MSS. 
vol. xxxiv. p. 281, in the Library of the Inner Temple. 


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and two years later an alleged breach in the truce a.d. 
induced him to lead an army of 5,000 men against the '^^S^^^^^ 
Border. Whether he acted under royal authority, or 
simply in satisfaction of a private feud between himself 
and William Douglas, Earl of Angus, is doubtful/ Be this 
as it may, a sanguinary action ensued near the village of 
Piperden or Pepperden in the Cheviot Hills, resulting in 
the complete defeat of Northumberland, and the loss of 
half his army. Forty English knights, including Sir 
Richard Percy,* and 1,500 gentlemen were left upon the 
field, and five hundred prisoners remained in the hands 
of the victors, whose losses were trifling.* The pro- 
bability is that the Scots had prepared an ambush, into 
which the Earl, whose courage and impetuosity appear to 
have been more conspicuous on this occasion than his 
generalship, allowed his army to fall.* 

Encouraged by success, the Scots advanced under 
the king in person and laid siege to Roxburgh with an 
army of 30,000 men ; but being, after a siege of twenty 
days during which Sir Ralfe Grey defended the castle, 
attacked in force by the Earl of Northumberland, they 
were driven back with great slaughter,* and shordy after 

* *^ Incertum cujus autoritate^ an privatdy an regis.^* — Boece^ p. 353. 

* Described by some writers as the son of the Earl of Northumber- 
land ; but this is evidently an error. The earl's son Richard was then 
an infant in his cradle, and survived to take a prominent part in the 
Wars of the Roses. This Sir Richard must have belonged to one of 
the then numerous collateral branches of the Percy family. 

3 Holinshed. Ridpath. 

4 This is the battle of which some of the incidents seem to have formed 
the groundwork of the ballad of Chevy Chase. See ante^ p. 153. 

5 " King James being then advertised that the Earl of Northumber- 
land was coming to fight with him, fled with no lesse losse than dis- 
honour, and enough of both." — Holinshed, iil 189. Among the Scotch 
this unfortunate expedition was long remembered under the name '* the 
dirtin raid" Hardyng says : 

" Therle then of Northumberland throughout, 
Ra3rsed up the lande, and when he came it nere 
The Kyng trumped up and went away full clere.'* 

— Chronicle^ p. 397. 

259 S 2 

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A.D. the earl once more concluded a treaty of peace with his 
U94-I4SS troublesome neighbours." 

These services were acknowledged by the grant of a 
life annuity of ;^ioo," and towards the end of the year 
Northumberland was despatched on a mission for the 
purpose of delivering the Order of the Garter to the King 
of Portugal, the grandson of John of Gaunt. 

It was about this time that he acquired the lordship 
of Doncaster by purchase from Sir John Salvayne, and 
that he erected the keep at Warkworth Castle, the solid 
remains of which now form one of the most attractive 
features of that magnificent ruin. 

In the later campaigns in France, where the tide of our 
successes had begun to turn,' the Earl of Northumberland 
appears to have taken no prominent part, and the state- 
ment accepted by several of the genealogists, that he 
had there "distinguished himself in many exploits, in 
the reign of Henry V. and also in that of Henry VI,"* 
is entirely devoid of foundation in fact Indeed the rare 
occurrence of the name of Percy in the chronicles of the 
French wars of this period is a remarkable circumstance, 
when we consider the love of fighting which characterised 
the race, and of which the second earl, as well as all the 
immediate members of his family, gave most conspicuous 
evidence in the civil wars of his own country and on 
the northern borders. 

« Pat^ 1 6 Henry VL, p. 2, m. 17. 

» Rot Scot,^ 16 Henry VL, m. 6. 

3 Rymer quotes the curious letter written by the Duke of Bedford 
to the King (Cotton MSS., Titus, E.5X and dated from the camp before 
Orieans on 20th October, 1428, in which he alludes to the death of Talbot, 
Earl of Shrewsbury, and the defeat of his army, " caused in grete partie, 
as I trowe, of lakke of sadde beleve, and of unlevefulle double that they 
hadde of a disciple and lyme of the Feende, called the Pucelle, that used 
false enchauntments and sorcerie." — Faderay x. 408. The date assigned 
to this letter is evidently erroneous. Salisbury fell on 12th October, 1428, 
and the Maid of Orleans did not appear upon the scene until the 
following April * Banks' Baronage of England^ vol il 421. 


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' . •■'^, SrCOXD EAkL OF KOHI il lMI ilM \:<--' 

.'^■^^ rr '^>\ ^^.nicludcJ a treaty of ic:^^ v' 'i K'-^ 

:•• ^ v\'re acknov. if^^'i^^cd l>y I'r f l;. i^it <;!* r^ 
.'^^' ■ - •:3.' ;in<l tcrvvar'j- Oic vnd of ;!;^: >'-'^'^ 
::i!" '' \*.v- (i'/<p'^u hr*l on a inis.-''''^i f^^r •.:. 

t't" ' ..'• •';• tr.'! Onlf.r of the G ;: I :r Lo t/;--^ L.'' * 
•I Pom; ^ * ■■ . '^-.ip*! ,.n of John f.f (.i;iiint. 

It \ '■ . J. '.t tnis tinie thai he ar.(}itirc d ih^^. Ic.'-'-' ;> 

<ii ! ' . ■ r ly ^j'lroh.ase irom Sir John Silv.'^ iw . :■. ; 1 

t - I h<^ ».■ ■.: . 1 t:'e k '^^p at \\ ark\v(»x-t.ii Castie, Up? s •:' : 

I '-.. m'^<; :* vvt'.ich liOw form on^j of ih*-* r>'.t ati/'. ilvv 

::-::t mairnlficcnt ruin. 

•' i'vt):>i.^rnc; jn prancc, where the lie ^ i • -ir 
• :'-n to turn,' the Karl '^f XoMhiiir'- r:.. . i 
» . taken no prominent [^lrt, a'^d ihv ?t. * - 

' ]iy several of tla: gnncalt -"(">: s, t^' -: • 
\ ^t.nouisjied him^'df in nKuiy e' ; l.^:* , .> 
1 ' • •» ilv.pry V. and als6 in that of Hr^.r-v \' 1 • 
\ eni'j ''' . A'oid of foundation in fact. Iiideed tr* 
o. ciuT T'lC of the name of Percy in tlie rhf*onic!es ca' t! -• 
I'rt'juh wars of tliis pi^rioci is a remarkahlc * 
'when wc coi-^id^rlhe k)ve of .flighting' which c^i;"»-mc{' r\> 
the rare, and of which the second earh r-.^ wt;ll as . '! i,.' 
imrae«iiate meml^'rs of his family, tjave most con^Mie;..' ^ 
r'viJence in the tivil wirs of his own co'a/.fry .t.: ! m. 
the northern lx>rdcrs, 

' /'<//., i6 II^•n^v^'l., {». 7, m. xy. 
^ /vV/. .SVL/., 1 6 'Hciiiy VI., m. 6. 

■' Kynicr e notes the curifvis letter wmten by the Duke of i*t^U. . 1 
to the Kii-j:^ (t Cotton M^S , Titus E.5X and daicd from the crmn t^ •"...; 
(HV.m.on ::rhOctoher, 1 42S, in \s>t':!i he alludes to the tk\it': (M' T/.l!'- \ 
1\ il of >^]'i\*wshnry, and the defent of l)is amy, ** caused in [zrcic \kv* \ 
*!' T tr<'iwe, of lakkv of sadde beleve, and of unkvef'i'.le t!o'i^*tc that f!: 
• "Mj ufad srli)!'. a'ul tynie of the lee:u!e, called the Fuceile, t'\-.* i / 
enrha^mtments and soicerie.'' --/v^'Z-a, x. 40S. Th.e da'e .'-- /i i 
; t' b Kttei i*^ evidently crroneoii':,^ay fell on 12th Oetoh-er. : .; j: 

ihr M H I of Orleans did not app'jar upon the scene uiu.i t; 
i( ..-"^'.vi *■:; April. -* r»ar \s Ihirona^i of En^turtJ, ^yA ii 4^1 


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It was probably in grateful recollection of his own a.d. 1448 
training that the earl founded three Divinity Fellowships 
in University College, Oxford, in favour of natives of 
Durham, Carlisle, and York,' which after the lapse of 
nearly four and a half centuries still continue in force. 
He also granted an acre of land pertaining to the Honour 
of Petworth, to Eton College,' and obtained the royal 
license (6th July, 26 Henry VI.) to found a grammar school 
at Alnwick, towards the endowment of which he granted 
lands of the value of £/^o per annum.* 

After a more than usually prolonged cessation of 
hostilities, the Scots in 1448 again invaded England, 
ravaging whole districts with fire and sword, and laying 
the town of Alnwick in ashes. The Earl of North- 
umberland hereupon led a considerable army against 
them, and, having crossed the Solway, encamped on the 
banks of the River Sark, in Annandale, where he was 
attacked by the Earl of Ormond * with a superior force. 

The fight was a furious one, and the victory at first 
inclined to the English arms, but the Lord Maxwell 
appearing on the field with reserves turned the scale.* 

« 1^0/. ParLy 21 Henry VI. The grant consisted of the advowson of 
Amcliffe, which had been part of the Percy fee since the Conquest, with 
three acres of land, then worth ;^46. — Whitaker's Craven, This seems 
a small sum for the purpose ; but, as late as the reign of Henry VIIL, 
J[fi was accepted by University College for the endowment of a 

• Rot. Pari, 23 Henry VI. See also Appendix XXXVI. This deed 
bears the signature of the earl, his countess^ and their two sons, Henry 
and Thomas, as parties to the grant 

3 See Clarkson's Survey, 1567, A i. No. i, part xviiL 

4 It is noteworthy how, generation after generation, the Percies and 
Douglases were opposed to one another as leaders in the Border wars. 
Indeed throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the latter house 
represented in Scotland much the same power as was exercised by the 
Percies in the north of England, and both races were equally distin- 
guished by their warlike spirit and personal contempt of danger. 

^ " Having the rear Loixi Maxwell won the field ; Ormond and the rest 
of the leaders of the army being almost discomfitt." — The Book of 
CarUverock, vol i. p. 137. 


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A.D. Northumberland was defeated with great loss, and only 
1394^^455 escaped capture by the devotion of his son, who was taken 
prisoner in rescuing him/ 

In the following year however, when King James II. 
in person led an army across the Border, the earl suc- 
ceeded in repelling the invasion, to the utter discomfiture 
of the Scots, on which occasion he and his son Sir Ralfe 
received the formal thanks of King Henry VI. for their 
*' diligence in protecting the Marches," and for ** rebuking 
and resisting the malice of our enemyes the Scottes that 
studiene by all thir wayes the jioysance of our saide 
countrye and subjettes." 

In this year the earl was one of the judges on the trial 
of the Duke of Suffolk (de la Pole), for complicity in the 
murder of the Duke of Gloucester, the surrender of 
several French provinces committed to his charge, and 
other crimes." As a mark of the royal favour he re- 
ceived a grant of Wressill Castle,^ one of the confiscated 
possessions of his great-uncle the Earl of Worcester, 
which had not been included in the original restoration, 
and was created Lord High Constable of England.^ About 

« " Numerous prisoners were taken including Sir John Pennington 
and Lord Percy : the latter of whom was made prisoner whilst courage- 
ously rescuing his father the Earl of Northumberland from the victors." 
— The Book of Carleverock^ voL i. p. 137. Holinshed, in enumerating 
the prisoners, mentions " the Lord Persie, Sonne to the Erie of North- 
umberland, who holpe his father to horsebak, whereby he escapid by 
flight." — Chronicles^ v. 437. 

' Having submitted to the king's mercy, he was temporarily banished 
the reakn ; but the Commons, enraged at this lenient sentence, caused 
him to be intercepted on his way to France and beheaded on the spot 
He was subsequently attainted. 

3 According to some authorities, it was granted not to the Earl but to 
his second son, Thomas, Baron Egremont In 1469 it passed into the 
possession of John Nevill, Lord Montacute (subsequently created Earl 
of Northumberland), but was restored to the Percies (the fourth Earl) 
by Henry VIL, and remained in their possession until ^transferred by the 
fifth Duke of Somerset to the Wyndham family in 1750. A fiill de- 
scription of the castle will be found in the Northumberland Household 
Book^ p. 451. 4 Foedera^ xi. 270. 


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the same time his second son Thomas was created Baron a.d^452 

Symptoms of the storm which a few years later burst 
over the throne of the unfortunate young King of 
England now began to make themselves felt The 
politic Duke of York, without overtly asserting his claims 
to the crown, fomented the growing discontent of the 
English people, then groaning under the weight of an 
intolerable taxation and of mortification at the inglorious 
loss of dearly-bought possessions in France. Already 
the great noUes took sides, attaching themselves to the 
parties opposing, or supporting the reigning sovereign ; 
and a conflict which took place in 1454 between the 
cadets of two great houses and their followers, was but the 
precursor of the rebellion which ensued, and which led to 
one of the most disastrous civil wars recorded in history. 

In the year of grace 1452, "there arose for dyverse 
causes a greet discorde betwixt the Earl of North- 
umberland and Richard Nevill, Earl of Salisbury, his 
wyfe's brother,' in so much that many were beeten and 
slaine and hurt, and in the year 1453, at Steyneford 
Bridge, besydes York,* there was a battayl set betwixt 
Thomas, Lord Egremont, and Richard his brother, the 
sonnes of the said Erie of Northumberland on one partie 
and two sonnes of the said Erie of Salisbury on the 
other partie, but, through the Treason and withdrawing of 
Peris of Lounde, the first Lord Egremont and his brother 

* Fat^ 28 Henry VI. p. 10, m. i. See Madox's Baronia Anglica^ 
p. 142. 

* The second son of Ralph Nevill, Earl of Westmoreland, created 
Earl of Salisbury in 1428. 

3 Stanford, or Stamford, Bridge (sometimes called the Bridge of 
the Battle) had been the scene of the desperate conflict between 
the Norwegians and Harold on 23rd September, 1066. 


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iLD. Richard were taken and committed to prison in London/' 
1394^^455 According to another historian, "dyverse men were 
maymed and slayne etweene theym " in this encounter, 
but in the end Lord Egremont " was founden in much 
defaulte," and sentenced by the justices at York to pay 
to the Earl of Salisbury the large fine of 14,800 marks ; 
" for lakke of payment thereof, or of putting suretie for 
the same, the sayd Lorde Egremonde was commytted 
to Newgate." * He succeeded, however, in making his 
escape with three other prisoners, '* to the grete charge 
of the sheriffs," who thus became responsible for the 
fine imposed." 

The following letter, written by the Earl of North- 
umberland to his " Right worshipfuU and right entirely 
welbeloved Cousyn ye Lorde Sayntemonde," belongs to 
this period. 

" Right worshipfuU, and with all myne hart right 
entierly beloved Cousyn, I coiRande me unto you in ye 
moste hartely wise yt I kan ; and liket yow to witt yt 

■ The Englishe Chronicle. A petition was presented by Parliament 
praying the king to summon before the Council ** Thomas Perqr, 
knight. Lord Egremond, and Richard, knight, his brother, having 
raisede and assembled and gadrede your people of the shires of York, 
Cumberlande, Westmorelande, and Northumberlande in grete numbre, 
togeider with manye other idel men of grete riotous rule and mis- 
governance, so that the peaceful people be sore hurt, vexed and 
troubled, and dare noon entr^ maJce, ne action attempt upon ne 
agaynst them at law for fere of deth and their lykely destruction." — 
Rot Pari, 23 Henry VI. 

Grafton places these events after the death of the second Earl of 
Northumberland, implying that the enmity between the two houses had 
been created by the result of the . battle of St Alban's. In Stow's 
Survey^ they are stated to have occurred as late as 1457, but the earlier 
date appears to be the more accurate. 

• Fabian^ p. 632. According to Stow, "Lord Egremond and Sir 
Richard Percy, his brother, brake out of prison by night, and went to 
the king ; the other prisoners took the leads off the gate, and defended 
it a long while against the sheriffs and all their officers, insomuch that 
they were forced to call more aid of the citizens, whereby at last they 
subdued them and laid them in irons." — Survey^ voL i. p. 20. 


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ye vii day of yis pr^ moneth of Avrill come a writt unto a.d. 1454 
me charging me in right streate wise yat I shuld be at 
yis P'lement ye x day of yis same moneth, the which 
God knoweth lies nought in my power for shortnes of 
time, gif I were in als goode helth als ence I was. 
Wherfor, Cousin, I pray yow as hartely as I kan yat ye 
would doo so moche for me as to enforme ye Kyng our 
Sov™ Lord how yat I am to greatly vissett with sekeness 
yat trewly I may nought travell without grete Jubertd 
of my life. Beseeching the Kyng of his hieghness for to 
p'done me of my ' , as nowe unto tyme yat it list 

his goode grace to coffiande me for to come unto hym 
when I may better travel yan I may nowe. And right 
worshipful cousyn, my Son, ye Lord Egremond, broght 
me word tofore Christemess yat ye Kyng of his goode 
grace excused me of my ' to p'lement, and trewly 

cousyn and I shuld be compelled nowe for to ryde in 
yis Sesson of ye yere and in ye sekenes yat I am in, I 
trust verrely yat I shuld fall so seke by ye way yat I 
shuld neuer mowe cover il withowt ye grace of God, 
and to put me in p'ell of my life, and by such labure I 
shuld be broght in such febilnes yat I should neuer be 
of power and myght in my psone for to do ye kyng 
sVice hereafter. And I trust so much in his goode grace 
yat he wuld gladlier have my sVice hereafter rather yan 
thrugh suche ympotent labure I should be casten downe 
in sekenes and to enfeble my p*sone so yat I myght 
not do hym sVice to his plesir and comandement here- 
aften* Praying yow, cousyn, also ye wuld beseche ye 
Kyng of his heighnes yat he wuld vouchesave of his 
goode grace for to consider my grete age and ye grete 
labure and bissynes yat I had in his sVice yis last yere, 

» These words are obliterated in the MS. 

' How sincere these professions were was proved a few months later 
at St Alban's. 


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AD, and how that my good will is, and at all tymes shall be 
13942^455 j.gjy f^j. ^Q Jq jjyjj^ sVice at my power what tyme as I 
may labure and travell for sekeness. For trewly it 
is noght longe sith I tooke grete sekeness from travel 
in ys same sesson of ye yere withe wekes togedir, so yat 
I and all my servants wer in grete dispare of my life. 
And therefore worshipful Cousyn, I pray yow as hartely 
as I kan or may to acquite yow so in yis matter for 
myne excuse as my singular trust is in yow, yat ye fully 
so will doo. And yat ye wouU geve full feith and 
credence unto my well beloved Squier, Christopher 
Spencer, berar herof in yat he shall say unto yow by 
mouthe on my behalfe. And I besech oure Lord God 
evrmore to have yow in his gracious keping. Writen at 
Leykyngfeld ye ix day of Avrill. Your aisne Cosyne, 

" H. Northumberland." ' 

The influence of the Yorkists had caused the Duke 
of Somerset to be committed to the Tower, but at 
March 1455 a Council held at Greenwich, the Earl of Northum- 
berland had strenuously supported the queen s efforts 
to liberate an4 to restore him to power/ The Duke of 
York, whose commission as Lieutenant of the Kingdom 
had been cancelled, determined upon a bold effort to 
counteract his rival's influence, and placing himself with 
the Earl of Warwick at the head of a consider- 
22 May able army, overtook the king at St Alban's. After 
some show of negotiating, he suddenly attacked the 
Lancastrians, who, greatly outnumbered, were, after a 
short but fierce conflict, utterly defeated. Henry escaped 
to London, where he fell into the hands of the Duke of 
York ; but the greater part of the nobles who had fought 
in his defence were slain, and among them the Earl 

" From the Evidences, Syon House. 
* Fadera, vol. xi. p. 561. 


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of Northumberland,* who thus with his heart's blood a.d. 1455 
crowned his long and faithful services to the House 
of Lancaster.* 

His fate, with that of other of their chieftains, was the 
signal for the dispersion of the Royalist army ,3 and the 
Duke of York became at once, in all but name, the King 
of England ; his only formidable enemy, now that the 
leading nobles around the throne were killed, captured, or 
exiled,* being the feeble Henry s brave, ambitious, and 
high-spirited queen. 

Although the restitution of his ancestral lands under 
Henry V. has been shown to have been far from 

' "Therle then of Northumberland was there, 

Of sodeyn chaunce drawen forth with the kynge, 
And slayne unknowne by any man ther were." 

— Hardyng's Chronicle. 

Warwick. " I wonder how the king escaped our hands. 

York. '* While we pursued the horsemen of the north, 
He slily stole away, and left his men : 
Whereat the great Lord of Northumberland, 
Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat, 
Cheered up the drooping army ; and himself 
Charged our main battle's front, and, breaking in, 
Was by the swords of common soldiers slain." 

—Third Fart of King Henry VL, Act L, Scene i. 

* ''This," says Hume, "was the first blood spilt in that fatal quarrel, 
which was not finished in less than a course of thirty years, which was 
signalised by twelve pitched battles, which opened a scene of extra- 
ordinary fierceness and cruelty, is computed to have cost the lives of 
eighty princes of the blood, and almost entirely annihilated the ancient 
nobility of England." — History of England. 

3 " When the Earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford were slain, 
the men threw down their arms and fled." — Jiot, Farly 33 Henry VI. 

^ " For there died under the sign of the Castle " (" underneath an ale- 
house paltry sign ") ** Edward Duke of Somerset, Henry 2nd Earl of 
Northumberland, Humphrey Earl of Stafford, John [Thomas] Lord 
Clifford, with VH M. men or more." — Hall's Chronicle. The number of 
the Lancastrian soldiers killed is here exaggerated. Some of the old 
writers put their loss at only 800. According to Hume, the killed 
amounted to 500a 


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A.D. complete, and his wife had but a comparatively moderate 
^394^455 dower, the second Earl of Northumberland acquired 
considerable additions of territory during his life-time, 
dying seized of 

41 townships and 20 manors in Northumberland ; 
12 manors and other lands in Cumberland ; 
15 manors in Yorkshire ; 
3 manors in Essex ; 

I manor in Leicester, in Suffolk, and in Kent ; 
besides the Sussex estates and extensive house property 
in London, York, Newcastle, and Hull/ 

He was buried in York Minster, where a painted 
window (which was taken down for repairs in 1590 and 
never replaced) represented him and his countess, with 
their twelve children kneeling around them.' 

» For a list of these possessions see Appendix XXXVII. 
• See the Plate representing " Percy's Window " in Drake's History 
of York^ p. 306. 

^^^"ffyv <^^l^ 

Facsimilb or Signatukb op thb 9Nd Earl or Northuubbrlano. 


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Bom at Leconfield, July 25, 142 1.* 
Succeeded to the Earldom, 1455. 
Fell at Towton Fields, March 29, 1461. 

English Sovereigns, 

Henry VI. 

Edward Y^.au, 1461. 

'HE loyalty which had ever inspired the 

l^^P^^! second Earl of Northumberland sur- 
mWK vived him in four of his sons, all of 

whom, like himself, fell on the battle- 
field in defending the rights of their 

Circumstances had created a natural sympathy 
between the third earl and King Henry VI. Born and 
married within the same year, and knighted on the same 
day," they had been fellow students in their youth, 
companions in arms as they advanced to manhood, and 
attached friends at all times. While the struggle lasted 

■ He was the fourth son ; his three elder brothers having pre-deceascd 
their father. 

« Prince Henry received knighthood on May 4, 1426, when in his 
fifth year, at the hands of the Duke of Bedford, and immediately after 
conferred the same honour on his play-fellow, Henry Percy. — Fcedera^ 




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A.D. the chief of the Percies and his three brothers were 
1421-1461 fQj.^a.rd in the field wherever the king's enemies showed 
themselves ; and when these prevailed, and the unfor- 
tunate Henry was deposed and consigned to the Tower 
for his remaining days, they continued to fight his 
battles till, one by one, they fell, sword in hand, in the 
attempt to restore him to the throne. 

Like his father, the third earl took a more prominent 
part in domestic affairs, warlike and pacific, than in the 
French campaigns ; and was constantly employed in 
alternately fighting and pacifying the Scots, We find 
him as early as in 1440 acting as one of the Border 
Commissioners and Conservators, and two years later 
the royal assent was given to his father's resigna- 
tion in his favour of the wardenship of the East 
marches ' and the governorship of Berwick Castle* 
By his marriage, in 1443, with Eleanor, the grand- 
daughter and sole heiress of Robert, Lord Poynings,* 
Henry Percy acquired the baronies of Poynings, Fitz- 
payne, and Bryan, together with large landed estates 
in Sussex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Somerset and Kent,^ and 
was summoned to Parliament as Dominus de Poynings. 
In 1449 the king granted him a moiety of the con- 
fiscated lands of Sir Robert Ogle,* and on his 

' The office was conferred upon him for a term of ten years, with an 
allowance of ;^5,ooo a year in war and ^^2,500 in peace. On his re- 
appointment in 14559 the emoluments were reduced to ;^2,566 13X. ^ 
in peace or war. — Claus^ 20 Henry VI. m. 30. See his Warrant addressed 
to Christopher Spencer, Appendix XXXVIIa. 

• Sir Richard Poynings, the lady's father, had pre-deceased Lord 
Poynings, having fallen during the siege of Orleans in 1429. He had 
married the widow of the Eari of Arundel, who, by her will dated in 
1455, ^^^^ ^o '*™y ^^^ daughter Lady Eleanor Percy a golden collar 
for her neck with a jewel set with precious stones hanging thereat ; also 
a basin of silver with the arms of the said Poynings and of Sir John 
Berkeley my father thereon ; likewise a ewer of silver and C. £, sterling." 
—Testatiunta Vetusta. 3 See Appendix XXXVIH. 

4 Pat. 27 Henry VI. p. i, ul 20. The other moiety was bestowed 
upon Sir Richard Manners, then serving under the second Earl of 


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father's death he was permitted " free livery a.d. 
without inquisition taken for proof of age," of his ^^ 
inheritance, in consideration of his services in his 
custody of the town of Berwick and the wardenship of 
the marches, and "in repelling the Scots upon their 
siege of that town and castle, at his great expences." * 
Shortly after he was granted the honourable and lucrative 
post of Justiciary of the royal forests beyond Trent." 

We have seen Henry Percy fighting by the side of his 
father, and rescuing him from the hands of the enemy at 
the cost of his own liberty ; he was not less zealous in 
assisting and supporting the earl in his peaceful duties. 
Their names appear side by side in a number of judicial 
and administrative documents, and more especially in 
those repeated treaties with the Scots which appear only 
to have had the effect of provoking fresh hostilities.^ 
Sir Henry Percy was engaged on the borders in renewing 
one of these precarious truces, while the first battle of 
St. Alban's was being fought in the south, when he at 
once headed the band of young nobles leagued to avenge 
the deaths of their fathers.* The feeble king's whole 
influence, however, was now exerted to avert further 
bloodshed, and to this end he summoned a conference of 
Yorkists to meet their adversaries for the discussion and 
redress of mutual grievances. It was no easy task to 

Northumberland in the capacity of **Maister Forester," a post sub- 
sequently held by Sir Ralph Percy. 

» /iof. Fin, 33 Henry VI. m. 6. Free livery involved the remission 
of the heavy fines payable to the crown on succession to titles or lands, 
and which formed an important source of the royal revenues. 

» Paf. 38 Henry VI. p. 2, m. 7. 

3 One of these treaties, dated 15 August, 145 1, stipulated for a peace 
to last from the rising of the sun on that day to the setting of the sun on 
15 August, 1454. It actually remained in operation for three weeks, 
when it was succeeded by another formal undertaking of the same kind. 

4 " The relations of the lords slain at St Alban's loudly demanded 
vengeance, and their adversaries surrounded themselves with bands of 
armed and trusty retainers." — Lingard. 


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AD. reconcile such antagonistic elements, but the two parties 
1421-14 I ^gj.^ gQ evenly balanced that neither was prepared 
to take the responsibility of rejecting an honourable 

The meeting, which was presided over by the king 
in person, was convened for the 15th March, but the 
attitude of the nobles assembled held out little promise 
of a pacific solution. 

The Earl of Northumberland, the Lord Egremont, 
and the Lord Clifford came to London with a large 
force of armed retainers, loudly proclaiming the wrongs 
they had suffered and their firm resolve to exact 
full reparation. So threatening was their demeanour, 
that, according to a contemporary chronicler, **the 
cytie wolde not receyve theyem bycause they came 
agaynst the pease. The Duke of York and the Erie of 
Salisbury came out onely with ther householde men in 
pesyble manner, thinking none harme, and were lodgyd 
withyne the cyte ; but the abouesade came for to 
destroy utterly the said Duke of Yorke, armed for to 
withstande the malice of the young Lordes yf ned 
had be." ' 

This writer appears to have been a partisan of the 
Yorkists, for others attribute no such moderation to the 
followers of the Duke of York, who were evidently as 
much prepared for armed conflict as their adversaries : 
— "The Earle of Salisburie came with 500 men on 
horseback, and was lodged in the Herber ; Richard Duke 
of York, with 400 men, lodged at Baynard Castle. The 
Duke of Excester and Somerset with 800 men, and the 
Earle of Northumbreland, the Lord Egremont, and the 

* From Ah Englische Chronide^ published by the Camden Society. 
According to Grafton, however, the young lords, and their party 
generally, preferred to take up their quarters in the suburbs of London, 
because *' as the Jews disdained the company of the Samaritans, soe 
they abhorred the familiaritie of the Yorkshire linage." 


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Lord Clifford with 1,500 men. Richard, Earl of Warwick, a.d. 1458 
with 600 men, all in red jackets embroided with ragged 
staves before and behind, was lodged in Warwick Lane. 
In whose house there was oftentimes six oxen eaten at a 
breakfast ; and every tavern was full of his meat For he 
that had any acquaintance in that house might have there 
so much of sodden and rost meat as he could prick and 
carry upon a long dagger." ' 

With thousands of armed men collected within and 
around the city walls, all eagerly awaiting an excuse for 
striking a blow in the cause of their lords, it became 
necessary to adopt extraordinary precautions to maintain 
peace between the two factions. A royal proclamation 
forbid all hostile demonstrations under pain of death, 
and the civic authorities organised a powerful force and 
** kept greate watche as well by daie as by night, riding 
about the citie by Houlbourne and Fleet Street with 
four thousand men well armed and arrayed to see good 
order and peace at all times kept." ' 

The Archbishop of Canterbury and other prelates 
became the intercessors between the two parties, and 
finally succeeded in exacting a promise from the nobles 
on both sides that they would " forget all old rancours 
and be friends to each other and obedient to the king." ' 

The meeting accordingly took place, and resulted in 
an award, under which the Yorkists were required to 
found a chauntry in perpetuity for the repose of the souls 
of the three lords slain at St. Albans, and to pay a 
pecuniary fine to each of their successors ; * while the 
Earl of Salisbury was mulcted in a very large sum by 
the remission of the still unpaid fine due to him and his 

" Stew's Survey of London^ p. 72. 

* Holinshead, iii. p. 640. 3 Jlnd. 

4 The young Duke of Somerset received 5,000, and Lord Clifford 
1,000, marks, but the Earl of Northimiberland declined to accept 
pecuniary compensation for his father's death. 

VOL. L 273 T 

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A.D. family by Lord Egremont, for the riot at Staynsford 
1 421-14 I -QYidge six years before, on the latter giving security to 
keep the peace for ten years. 

So far the award had been unfavourable to the party 
of aggression, but the powerful influence of the Yorkists 
is indicated by an article in the Report which formally 
justifies their action at St Albans, while appearing only 
to excuse that of the nobles who fell in support of the 
royal authority. The Duke of Somerset, the Earl of 
Northumberland, and the Lord Clifford are declared to 
have been " true and faithful liegemen to the king, so to 
be held and reputed on the day of their deaths, as well as 
the said Duke of York, Earls of Warwick and Salisbury."' 

The loyalty of the men who attacked, and of those 
who defended, the King of England being thus alike 
vindicated, the '* ioifuU agreement " was made public by a 
solemn thanksgiving in St. Paul's Cathedral, King Henry 
being present " in habitt royall, with his crown on his 
head," the Duke of York leading the queen " wiA great 
familiaritie in appearance," and the reconciled nobles 
joining hands and walking side by side in the procession.' 

It proved but a hollow and a short-lived truce. Within 
little more than a year, the influence of the queen, whose 
high spirit could not brook the undisguised pretensions 
to the regal power of the Duke of York, summoned 
** the young lordes," who, appearing in London with a 
powerful following, once more proclaimed their grievances 
and demanded the punishment of the murderers of their 
fathers and the rebels against their king. Before the 
Yorkists could muster their forces and organise an 
effective opposition, the queen's party, utterly regardless 
of the compromise which they had accepted in the 
previous year, brought charges of high treason against 

» For the text of this curious document see Appendix XXXIX. 
' Holinshead, iiL 648. 


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the Duke of York and his principal allies, who were a.d. 1459 
indicted for having waged war against the king and 
"feloniously slayne dyvers Lordes of ye blode, that is 
to saye the Duke of Somerset, the Earl of Northumber- 
land and the Lorde Clifford." ' 

An act of attainder was passed against them in a 
parliament assembled at Coventry, and the authority of 28th Nov. 
the feeble king was once more nominally established. 

From the strongholds in which they had prudently 
sought refuge the Yorkists in their turn denounced the 
weak and harmless Henry as a fraudulent usurper, 
who had robbed the true and lawful heir of his crown. 
Their appeal was warmly responded to by the nation 
which had ever held the birthright of their kings in re- 
verence ; and was but weakly met by the Lancastrians, 
who had noW abandoned all pretence to rest their 
sovereign's claim to the throne upon legitimacy of 
descent, and could only oppose an act of parlia- 
ment to the hereditary right under the divine sanction 
of which the Duke of York pursued his ambitious 
schemes.* So strong indeed was the popular feeling 
in his favour, that he might at this time probably have 
attained his ends without a resort to arms but for the 
indomitable spirit of the queen, and the zealous support 
which, under her inspiration, was lent to the House of 
Lancaster by the Earls of Northumberland and West- 
moreland, and other of the warlike nobles of the north, in 
whom the military strength of the kingdom was mainly 
centred.3 The question was now committed to the 

« Rot Pari 27 Henry VI. 

* The Duke of York, it must be bome in mind, was the son of the 
Earl of Cambridge by the sister of Edward Mortimer, last Earl of 
March (who died without issue in 1425), and claimed the throne by 
right of his descent from Lionel, Duke of Clarence. 

3 "The whole north of England, the most warlike part of the 
kingdom, was by means of these two noblemen warmly engaged in the 
interests of Lancaster." — Hume's History of England,, The influence 

VOL. I. 275 T 2 

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A.D. arbitrament of the sword. The defeat of the royah'sts 
1421-1461 yj^j^^ L^rj Audley by the Earl of Salisbury at Blore 
Sept 23, Heath, was shortly after counterbalanced by the defec- 

^^^^' tion of the greater part of Warwick's army, which under 
Sir Andrew Trollope passed over to the king, and for a 
time so discouraged the Yorkists that they again retired 
to their different strongholds. In the following year, 
however, the rival forces once more met in the open 
field. The royal army, nominally commanded by the 
king in person, lay at Northampton, where it was attacked 
by the Earl of March, the eldest son of the Duke of 
York, and the Earl of Warwick who had landed from 
Calais with a picked body of troops. After a fierce 
July 10, conflict of several hours the royalists were defeated with 

'460. great slaughter,* and the poor king, who at this time was 
hardly responsible for his actions, was left a prisoner in 
the hands of his uncle. 

Among the many nobles who fell in the battle on the 
side of the Lancastrians was Lord Egremont who " full 
stoute in feate of warre," * was slain while fighting near the 
king's tent,3 having, it is said, been singled out for his 
vengeance by the Earl of Warwick, who had a personal 
grievance against him.^ The queen, who had been present 

and power of these nobles is illustrated by the fact of their having been 
able to raise large armies in their own county, although the great mass 
of the northern people had always sympathised with the deposed dynasty, 
and continued to lean to the side of York, even after the red and white 
rose had been united in a wedding wreath. 

* Hall, who puts the Lancastrian loss at ''few lesse than XM talle 
Englishmen," says that the Earl of Northumberland entered the field 
" determined to take Warwick alive or dead." ■ Hardyng. 

3 According to an account of thb battle in the New History of 
Northamptonshire^ vol. i. 430. 

< See Stubbs's Constitutional History, He left a son, John Percy, 
described in a deed of transfer dated in 1480 as filius et heres Thomas 
Percy, militis^ Dominus, dum vixit, de Egremont From the fact of 
his never having assumed the title it may be concluded that Lord 
Egremont had been attainted before his death, though there is no record 
of any such attainder previous to 146 1. 


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throughout with the young Prince Edward, now fled a.d. 1460 
under the escort of the Earl of Northumberland to the 
north, there to raise a fresh army. 

Meanwhile the Duke of York availed himself of this 
success to induce parliament to declare him regent of the 
kingdom and heir to the throne ; and Henry is described 
as cheerfully assenting to an act which, though it left him 
nominally in possession of the crown during his life, 
sacrificed the rights of his only son. The queen in- 
dignantly repudiated this arrangement, and when, at the 
instance of the Duke of York, who feared her influence 
and power, the king sent her a summons to join him in 
London, she returned a haughty and defiant refusal. 
The new regent, conscious that while so formidable an 
enemy remained in arms against him there could be no 
peace, conceived the rash design of advancing into the 
north for the purpose of securing her person and that of 
her son, and of finally crushing armed opposition. 
Arriving at Wakefield, in Yorkshire, with less than 
10,000 men, he found himself confronted by the queen 
at the head of an army of 20,000, commanded by generals 
devoted to her cause, including the Duke of Somerset, 
the Earls of Northumberland, Wiltshire, and Devon- 
shire, and the Lord Clifford. Unable to cope with such 
a force the Duke of York was prevailed upon to take 
refuge in Sandal Castle, there to await reinforcements, but' 
after a short time, chafing under inactivity and ashamed 
to be " held at bay by a woman," he left his intrench- 
ments and advanced to give battle to the queen. The 31 Deer, 
struggle was hopeless : ** Inuironed on every side, like fish 
in a net, he fought manfullie yet was he within half an 
hour slain and dead and his whole army discomfited." ' 

» Holinshead ; according to whom 2,800 Yorkists were Tcilled, 
" whereof manie were young gentlemen and heires of great parentage in 
the South Partes." 


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A.D. Civil wars are proverbial for arousing the fiercest 

1421-1461 pj^gjQns of human nature, and stifling those sentiments 
of generosity and pity which in international conflicts 
mitigate the horrors of the battlefield. Never was this 
more strongly illustrated than in the Wars of the Roses, 
where kinsmanship served rather to inflame than to 
soften hatred. What must have been the violence of 
faction, to convert the queen — a refined woman, an 
attached, if an imperious, wife, and a fond mother — 
into a cruel virago, gloating over the last agonies of her 
conquered and wounded adversary, seeking to aggravate 
the pains of his death by bitter insults, and finally venting 
her rage upon his inanimate body ? More repulsive even 
was the conduct of the Lord Clifford, when in cold 
blood, he, with his own hand, stabbed his prisoner, the 
young Earl of Rutland, a boy of twelve years, whose 
only offence was being the son of his father. 

By way of grateful contrast with such scenes we may 
turn to Shakespeare's tribute to that exceptional spirit of 
humanity which had at all times been a characteristic of 
the warlike Percies, and which he now attributes to '* the 
rude Northumberland," who is represented as moved to 
tears by the suffering of his fallen enemy under the 
cruelty of Queen Margaret/ 

' ^* Northumberland, Beshrew me, but his passions move me so, 
That hardly can I check my eyes from tears . . . 
Had he been slaughterman to all my kin, 
I should not for my life but weep with him. 
To see how inly son-ow gripes his souL 

Queen Margaret What, weeping-ripe, my Lord Northumberland ? 
Think but upon the wrong he did us all, 
And that will quickly dry thy melting tears." 

—Third Part of King Henry VL 

And again, in Richard the Third (Act i. Scene 3), in allusion to the 
murder of Rutland : 

" Northumberland, then present, wept to see it." 

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The Earl of March was on his way to reinforce a.d. 1461 
his father when he received the tidings of his 
defeat and death. Shortly after he was met by the 
Earl of Pembroke, whom the queen had sent to intercept 
him, while she herself, with an army commanded by 
Northumberland, advanced to attack the Earl of Warwick 
who was actively recruiting his forces in and around 
London. Pembroke was defeated with heavy loss at 
Mortimer's Cross, but Northumberland utterly routed 2 February. 
Warwick on the scene of his father s death six 
years before, slaying over 3,000 men and taking 15 Feb. 
numerous prisoners. Among them was the poor king, 
who, shuffled to and fro with the varying fortunes of 
war, was now transferred from the clement custody of 
his uncle to the imperious companionship of his wife. 

This victory, however, availed but little to the Lancas- 
trians, for the Earl of March, returning to the south by 
forced marches, compelled the queen to fall back, while 
he entered London in triumph, and was, by his army 
and the populace, proclaimed King of England. 

Queen Margaret had returned to 4 the north, where 
Northumberland succeeded in raising another army of 
60,000 men. The young Duke of York, or as he was 
now called, King Edward IV., was as determined as his 
father had been before him to crush the only power that 
continued to threaten the stability of his throne, and 
advancing with a large force prepared to refer the fate of 
his house to the issue of battle. 

• • 

The feudal system, while calculated to foster a warlike 
spirit, and to train the nation in martial exercises and the 
use of arms, was in its nature adverse to the development 
of defined principles of scientific warfare. The art of war 
had not yet been reduced to a science, and each chief- 
tain who brought a contingent into the field had his own 


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A.D ideas as to the most effectual method of employing his 
1421-1461 fQ^ces. The armies which a King of England could call 
together were accordingly an aggregate of units greatly 
differing in character and strength, and not neces- 
sarily bound to one another by any common tie of 
duty or sympathy. The sovereign authority was thus 
filtered through a number of distinct channels ; and al- 
though in some exceptional cases — as in that of the 
Black Prince — the genius and influence of the supreme 
commander enabled him to fuse the heterogeneous 
mass for his own purposes to a common end, yet as a 
rule the vassal recognised no authority but that of his 
own immediate lord, whose lead he was ever ready to 
follow, and whose fall or capture relieved him from the 
obligations of service, and was commonly the signal for 
flight or surrender on his part 

Of generalship, or great tactical combinations, we 
see few traces in the English wars of the middle ages ; 
but, if ignorant of military science, long practice in 
war had taught the commanders of feudal armies some 
valuable lessons. It is noticeable that they rarely failed 
to show a just appreciation of the advantages of geo- 
graphical position and promptly profited by the blunders 
or misfortunes of their adversaries. Both these qualities 
were now displayed. Warwick had no sooner reached 
Pontefract and learnt the disposition of the enemy, than 
recognising the importance which the command of the 
river Ayre would give him, he sent forward a detach- 
ment under Lord Fitzwalter to secure the bridge of 
Ferriby. The Lancastrians, becoming conscious of their 
neglect in not having possessed themselves of so com- 
manding a post, despatched an overwhelming force under 
Lord Clifford, who succeeded in securing it after a 
desperate struggle, in which Lord Fitzwalter and the 
greater part of his followers were slain. None knew 


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better than Edward and his adherents how much a.d. 146 i 
depended upon the issue of the coming struggle, and 
when Warwick saw the discouragement produced in his 
ranks by the appearance in the camp of the few fugitives 
who had escaped the massacre of Ferriby, he revived 
the morale of his army by one of those acts of theatrical 
display which, before and since those times, have in 
critical moments so often turned the scale of battle. 
Ordering his horse to be brought to him in presence of 
the assembled troops, he with his own hand stabbed the 
animal, declared his intention of fighting on foot like any 
common soldier, and, bidding those who were not pre- 
pared to follow him to the death to retire from the field, 
he led the attack. The example was contagious. Clifford 
was in his turn defeated and slain, and the bridge remained 
in possession of the Yorkists. On the following day — 29 March. 
Palm Sunday — the two armies confronted one another 
at Towton Fields, where 100,000 of England's best 
and bravest sons — princes, nobles, knights, yeomen and 
peasants — once more prepared to join in a death struggle. 
The morning was harsh and boisterous, and a heavy 
snow-storm was raging, under cover of which the Yorkists 
attacked the enemy, who, blinded by the drift blowing in 
their faces, discharged their arrows wildly. Lord Falcon- 
bridge, who led the van, improved this advantage by order- 
ing his archers to fall back after each discharge from their 
bows, a manosuvre not perceptible to the Lancastrians, 
whose shots continued to fall short of their mark. So fatal 
is this device said to have been to them, that while they 
emptied their quivers without inflicting any damage, the 
other side actually collected the harmless arrows, and 
returned them winged with death into the ranks of their 
owners." The Earl of Northumberland, seeing his men 

' " The Northern men, feling the shoot, but by reason of ye snow not 
wel vewing ye distance betwene theym and their enemyes, like hardy 


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A.D. falling before an unseen enemy, gave the order to charge, 
1421-1461 g^^jj.j_ i^ hand, and placing himself at theif head led 
the way upon the enemy's centre. The conflict now 
became a mere trial of brute strength, inspired by de- 
sperate courage : there was no thought of quarter or 
retreat, no idea beyond killing. This carnage continued 
with varying fortune for ten hours;' in the end the 
Yorkists prevailed, and defeat as usual became the signal 
for headlong flight and ruthless massacre. Nearly 
38,000 men are said to have fallen,* three-fourths 
of whom were Lancastrians ; and it was not with- 
out difficulty that Margaret, with the poor king whom 
she carried in her train and the young prince, succeeded 
in escaping from the field, and ultimately passing the 
border into Scotland. 

Even the brave queen's indomitable spirit must have 
sunk under this crushing blow. One half of her fine army 
slaughtered, the remainder fugitives or prisoners, and 
most of her faithful and trusted commanders * left dead 
upon the field ; among them the Earl of Norths 

men shot their shiefe arrows as fast as they might, but al their shot was 
lost and their labor vayn for they came not neer the Southerners by 
xl taylors yardes." — Hall. 

» " This deadly battayle and bloudy conflicte continued x hoiu^s in 
doubtful victorie, the one parte sometime flowing and sometime ebbynge." 
— 7W/. 

• " In those-two days were slayn thirty-seven thousand seven hundred 
three score and sixteen persons — all Englischemen and of one nacion, 
whereof the chief were the Erles of Northumberland and Westmor- 
land." — Holinshead. In a private letter from Edward IV. to his mother 
the Lancastrian loss alone is put at 28,000 men. — Fenn's Paston Letters^ 
vol L p. 217. 

3 " King Edw, What valiant foemen, like to autumn's com, 

Have we moVd down in tops of all their pride ! 

Three Dukes of Somerset, threefold renown'd 

For hardy and undoubted champions ; 

Two Cliffords, as the father and the son, 

And two Northumberlands ; two braver men 

Ne'er spurr'd their coursers at the trumpet's sound." 
—Third Part of King Henry VI. 


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umberland, who had " led the vanguard in lusty youth a.d. 
and fresh courage/' ' and his brave young brother ^^ !l!^ ^ 
Richard." In the following year Edward's legal right 
to the crown was affirmed by parliament ; the statutes 
validating the succession of the Lancastrian kings, and 
all grants made during their reigns, were repealed ; and 
a special act was passed attainting King Henry, his 
queen and son, and, among other of their adherents, the 
dead Earl of Northumberland and the four brothers 
who had fought by his side.^ 

Of these Sir Ralph was now the only survivor ; * and 
when the last of the Lancastrian armies was annihilated, 

' Hall. '* The earl commanded the vanguard, but there being a snow 
direct in the men's faces, whereby they could not discern how they shot, 
he led them on to charge sword in hand, in wlrich bloody onset it was 
supposed he fell" — Wainwright's History of York, Sheahan and 
Willan, in their History of Yorkshire^ state that the earl had been carried 
mortally wounded into York, where he died the same day. It is related 
by the same authors that in the year 1786 a gold ring, weighing more 
than an ounce, bearing the Percy crest and supposed to have belonged 
to this Earl of Northumberland, was found on the site of the battle of 
Towton. — For an abstract of his will see Appendix XL. 

* See Drake's History of York^ p. in. Among others of the slain 
in this battle were the Earls of Shrewsbury, Westmoreland, the Lords 
Cliflford, Beaumont, Nevill, Willoughby, Roos, Scales, Grey, Fitzhugh, 
Molineux, and Bedingham. The Earl of Devonshire was taken 
prisoner and executed by Edward's order, his head being stuck over the 
gate of York Castle in place of that of the Duke of York, which 
Margaret had placed there after the battle of Wakefield. 

3 Rot FarL v. 480, i Edward IV. (November 9, 146 1). 

^ Of the second earl's nine sons three had died in infancy, four fell 
in battle, the other two, George and William, had taken priests' orders. 
Fuller gives the following quaint accoimt of William Perey, who became 
Bishop of Carlisle in 145a and died ten years later: — 

'' As a base child in the point of his father is subject to a shameful, 
so is the nativity of this prelate as to the place thereof, attended with 
an honorable uncertain^ ; whose noble father had so many houses in 
the northern parts, that his son may be termed a native of North England^ 
but is placed in Topcliff as the principle and most ancient seat of this 
family." — Fuller's Worthies of Yorkshire, Of the earl's three daughters 
one died a nun, the second ^ Inarried in succession Sir Thomas 
Hungerford, Sir Lawrence Rainsford, and Sir Hugh Vaughan, *all 
good Lancastrian knights, and the third became the wife of Edmond 
Grey de Ruthyn, Earl of Kent. ,^ 


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A.D. the leaders slain or in exile, the king deposed, and the 
1421-14 I queen a suppliant fugitive in Scotland and France 
hopeless of the success of his cause," he, together with 
the Duke of Somerset, gave in his submission to 
Edward, who granted him his* pardon, and allowed 
him to retain the custody of the important Castle of 
Dunstanborough,* which had hitherto successfully held 
out for the Lancastrians ; but the governorship of 
Alnwick was transferred to a Yorkist, Sir John Astley. 
Queen Margaret, though defeated, was not, however, 
yet subdued. By a promise of the surrender of Berwick 
to the Scots, and of Calais to France, she succeeded in 
obtaining armed support from those countries, and once 
more made an irruption into her kingdom with a stirring 
appeal to her former subjects to rally under her standard. 
Among the first to place their swords at her disposal 
were the Duke of Somerset and Sir Ralph Percy.^ The 
latter surrendered to her the stronghold in his custody 
which she " stuffed with Scotts.*' * Whereupon, foiled in 
an attempt to surprise Alnwick Castle, he advanced with a 
small force under the Duke of Somerset, and the Lords 
Hungerford and Roos, to encounter John Nevill, Lord 
25 April, Montagu^at Hedgely Moor, near Chillingham Casde in 
'^ ^' Northumberland. The Lancastrians were so greatly 
outnumbered that after a mere show of resistance the 
commanders fled from the field, leaving Ralph Percy, who 
refused to turn his back upon the foe, exposed with a 

» "The Duke of Somerset, Sir Raufe Percye and dyvers others, lay 
in despayre and oute of hope of all good chaunce that might heppen 
to King Henry the Sixt, and came humbly and submitted themselves, 
whom the King gently entertayned and lovinglye receyved."— -Grafton, 
vol. ii. 2. 

• /iof. Pari, 2 Edward IV. and V. 511. 

3 «* When the Duke of Somerset heard these newes he without delaye 
refused Kyng Edward and rode in poste to his kinsman Kyng Henry 
the Sixt, verifying the olde proverbe * kin will creepe when it may not 

goe ' with him fled also Sir Raulfe Percie and mony other of 

the Kynge's friendes." — Grafton, vol. ii. 2. 4 /^id. 



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few faithful followers to the Yorkshire host/ Fighting a.d. 1464 
desperately while his arm could yet wield a sword, he fell 
covered with wounds and " died like a man." ' 

The act of attainder passed upon all the chief actors 
in Margaret's last struggle recites that '* Ralf Percy, 
Knight, after his long abode in rebellion, was by our 
sovereign lorde taken benygnlye unto his grace . . . 
yet nevertheless urtkyndlye rered werre agaynste the 
kynge, and surrendered the castles of Bamburgh and 
Dunstanburgh to the said Henry, the kynge's enemye."' 

It is impossible to question the justice of the terms of 
this sentence, or to defend Ralph Percy's betrayal of the 
trust reposed in him hy the Sovereign, whose pardon 
he had solicited and obtained. Yet some plea may be 
offered in extenuation of his offence. 

It is one of the curises of civil wars that the instability 
of national institutions which they produce reacts upon 
individual character, and so warps the moral sense as to 
tempt, sometimes almost to compel, honourable men to 
accept, under political pressure, an allegiance which in 
their consciences they condemn and repudiate, and which 
under altered conditions they feel bound to disavow.^ 
Never was this more commonly exemplified than in the 
Wars of the Roses, when " on neither side do there seem 

« "When sodaynelythe sayde Lordes withoute stroke stryking fled, 
and onely Syr Rauf Percie abode and was there manfullie slayne with 
dyvers others." — Grafton. The skirmish, for it was little more, was 
followed by the complete defeat of the Lancastrians at Hexham on 
May 15 following, when the nobles who had deserted Ralph Percy were 
taken prisoners and executed. 

« Year Book^ Term Paschal^ 4 Edward, v. 19. 

3 Rot Pari 4 Edward IV. 

« The Earl of Salisbury is made to excuse his breach of fealty to 
King Henry by the argument that : 

" It is great sin to swear unto a sin ; 
But greater sin to keep a sinful oath." 

—Second Part of King Henry VL 


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A.D. to have been any scruples. Yorkists and Lancastrians, 
1421-1461 Edward and Margaret of Anjou, entered into any en- 
gagements, took any oaths, violated them and indulged 
their revenge as often as they were defeated or 
victorious." ' 

If the prevalence of this demoralisation among all 
classes do not suffice to palliate his guilt, may not Ralph 
Percy s death and parting words plead for him ? 

Loyalty to the House of Lancaster, in defence of 
which his father and three brothers had fallen in battle, 
had been bequeathed to him as a sacred inheritance, and 
when the brave queen made her final appeal, he forgot 
all considerations — fealty, fortune, liberty, and life — all 
but his devotion to her cause and person. The desperate 
game was played and lost ; he stood alone, manfully pre- 
pared to pay the penalty, and glorying that he had 
remained true to the allegiance of his house, he cried 
with his last breath : 

" I HAVE Saved the Bird in my Bosom." 

A rudely-carved column, bearing the Percy badges, 
marks the spot where the fallen warrior breathed those 
touching words. A spring of water close by, at which 
he is said to have taken his last draught, still bears the 
name of Percy's Well ; and for many successive genera- 
tions this was the spot around which the sturdy North- 
erners would assemble to hold their annual contests of 
football and wrestling, and where old men sat and told 
the assembled children the story of the last Percy who 
fought and died for the Lancastrian Kings. 

' Hume. 


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.. . ' I ^ '■ .; .li.y '>ci unl*rs. Yo:'xi'.l> .i'.(^ 1 .i' ; -i *:' •* ' 

/.;;'.'^ : \ any (Aiths, \ !o';;tcd th^'i-i and ::'rl-'\r -' 
': r.\. ":.• * .r. okcii as they v;<:{h d. .", .,rr 1 

; *.i } .;:i-:nce of this (^cinorL:^s.;ti">ii air'".. :. 
' '.s<':i 'i^' •'•;i -itrice to [palliate his puilt, rr.n.y in t K./; 
nrr^-'^ il'-atii dp' [Mrt'ng words plLud for rim ? 
1 ..\ t'*\ to :! Houst: (^f Lancaster, in CcHv- : f 

i'.s fall* r and tiiree brotli.M-s liad fa^I.*n in ' i*; ■ 
• ' 1 ' . n bec^acath'^^d to him a.- a s.icr'^d ijih.:riM^:. '-. as- 
" hti ^.^rave qiK-cn made Iv. r fin i! a'^^jy^-^I, 1* fr. 
1 '"' -^^^ -ff-a!ty, f(a'tupc, Iil>'^:*ty, and K.^ - 

^ ^ " '^ vU'^t: an^'' JhT- n. rt..r df>:;< . ^ 

•i ; 'U' stvxjd .Jone*, r. ..i^.f-!'. 
ah an 1 ;. lov) iivj I'Vit h 
♦•« ' iC'.X' of }::)Ur,-^\ h^ 

WiL 1 'S 1 

*• I Hv\K S ' iHK Bird in mv i-^os* v- 

\ ru..UJy-caT i *o]ijr'n. bf-arhiv; th<: Pci' 1j" 
marks the y ' a • re rb*. fai'^.n warrior brt- lia^ ■ • 
tou<hini^ w- . -. A ^.- \. of wati.T c^osc '*,..; 
he is said m h •': tal .i ?;,s last draught, \.. 1 i- 
name . i Peny ; /''.,./ .i . i for m-uiy succ' si\'C . : 
tion> this was t!.-- ^'l -a .Mou'ui ulli^h ih^- st. <' 
( nu:rs would u- ■ r:' ''. to h'^'d tht.ii' annual c • -:s 
r.'Otball and v\ .t.^th. ;, ^iad w^ i«- ^nd r-.t^n sa* ".d f 
the asscmb'' d cl-' '-•'■a th(^ stor; -f tl:^ last ' \^ 
fuur^ht and died I-:: the Lam.;>^r!an l\'n}.:s. 

' Iln;-«<\ 


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