Algernon Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland

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His Grace
The Duke of Northumberland
Algernon Percy (1792–1865), 4th Duke of Northumberland by Francis Grant.jpg
Duke of Northumberland by Francis Grant
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
28 February 1852 – 17 December 1852
Monarch Queen Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Derby
Preceded by Sir Francis Baring, Bt
Succeeded by Sir James Graham, Bt
Personal details
Born 15 December 1792 (1792-12-15)
Died 12 February 1865 (1865-02-13) (aged 72)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Eleanor Grosvenor
(d. 1911)
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge

Admiral Algernon Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland KG PC FRS (15 December 1792 – 12 February 1865), styled Lord Algernon Percy until 1816 and known as The Lord Prudhoe between 1816 and 1847, was a British naval commander, explorer and Conservative politician.


Northumberland was the younger son of General Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland, and Frances Julia, daughter of Peter Burrell.[1] He was educated at Eton[citation needed] and St John's College, Cambridge.[2]

Naval career[edit]

Northumberland entered the Royal Navy in 1805, aged 13, and served in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1815, when only 22, he was promoted to captain, taking command of HMS Cossack in August, and commanding her until she was broken up some 10 months later.[3] The following year, aged 23, he raised to the peerage as Baron Prudhoe, of Prudhoe Castle in the County of Northumberland (Prudhoe being a town in Northumberland). He later became an Admiral in the Royal Navy.[4] Between 1826 and 1829 he was part of an expedition to Egypt, Nubia and The Levant.[3]

Northumberland became the first president of the newly formed National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck in 1834, and went on to become the president of its successor, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. In 1851 he offered a prize of £200 for a new design of self-righting lifeboat, won by James Beeching, which became the standard model for the new Royal National Lifeboat Institution fleet.[5]

Political career[edit]

Northumberland succeeded his childless elder brother in the dukedom in 1847. In 1852 he was sworn of the Privy Council[6] and appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, with a seat in the cabinet, by the Earl of Derby, a post he held until the fall of the government in December 1852. In 1853 he was made a Knight of the Garter.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Northumberland married, aged 49, Lady Eleanor Grosvenor, daughter of Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster, on 25 August 1842. They had no children. He died in February 1865, aged 72, and buried in the Northumberland Vault, within Westminster Abbey.[8] He was succeeded in his titles by his cousin, the 2nd Earl of Beverley. The Duchess of Northumberland died in May 1911.[1]

Northumberland was a good friend of Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, and Prudhoe Bay, on the north coast of Alaska, was named after him.[citation needed] The Irish piper, Owen Cunnigam of Athenry, frequently boasted that he received one hundred pounds a year from the Duke of Northumberland for performing at his castle during the six to eight weeks around Christmas.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Francis Baring, Bt
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Sir James Graham, Bt
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Hugh Percy
Duke of Northumberland
Succeeded by
George Percy
Baron Percy
Succeeded by
John Stewart-Murray
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Prudhoe