House of Percy

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House of Percy
House of Percy.png
Armorial of Percy
Country Kingdom of England, United Kingdom
Founded 1067
Founder William de Percy (d.1096), 1st feudal baron of Topcliffe
Current head Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland
Armorials of Percy ancient: Azure, five fusils conjoined in fesse or[1] These arms are still quartered by the Dukes of Northumberland, but were superseded c. 1300 by the adoption by Henry de Percy, 1st Baron Percy (d.1314) of the arms Or, a lion rampant azure, the source for which is variously given as the "Lion of Brabant",[2] the extinct arms of Redvers, Earls of Devon,[3] or the Lion of Arundel combined with the tinctures of Warenne
Arms of Percy modern: Or, a lion rampant azure, as shown on the seal of Henry de Percy, 1st Baron Percy (d.1314) affixed to the Barons' Letter, 1301 and blazoned with tinctures as his arms in the Caerlaverock Poem Roll of Arms of 1300

The House of Percy (old French Perci) were the most powerful noble family in northern England for much of the Middle Ages, having descended from William de Percy (d.1096), a Norman who crossed over to England after William the Conqueror in early December 1067, was created 1st feudal baron of Topcliffe in Yorkshire,[4] and was rebuilding York Castle in 1070. The name derives from the manor of Percy-en-Auge in Normandy, the home of the family at the time of the Norman Conquest.[5] Members have held the titles of Earl of Northumberland or Duke of Northumberland to this day, in addition to Baron Percy and other titles. In common with their rivals, the House of Neville, the Percy surname twice died out in the male line but was re-adopted by the husband of a Percy heiress and by their descendants. In the 12th century, the original Percy line was represented by Agnes de Percy, whose son by her husband Joscelin of Louvain adopted the surname Percy. Again in the 18th century, the heiress Elizabeth Seymour married Sir Hugh Smithson, who adopted the surname Percy and was created Duke of Northumberland.[6]

Recurring names[edit]

Recurring names in the Percy genealogy include:

  • Henry (first borne by the 7th feudal baron of Topcliffe and his 10 immediate successors, including the 1st Earl and Harry Hotspur)
  • Hugh (first borne by the 1st Duke)
  • Joscelin (first borne by Joscelin of Louvain)
  • Algernon (first borne by the 1st Baron as a nickname: Aux Gernons or "with moustaches").

Prominent members[edit]

Prominent members of the family include:

Building work by the Percy family[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.849
  2. ^ Burke's General Armory, 1884 & Landed Gentry
  3. ^ Smith-Ellis, W., Antiquities of Heraldry, Vol. 1, pp.204-5, who suggests that a Roll of Arms c.1308-14 temp. Edward II lists the arms of Redvers as abatue or extinct and states in the same roll that they were borne by Sir Henry de Percy, whose father was heir of his 2nd brother Ingelram, who married Adeline, daughter and heiress of William de Fors by Isabel, daughter and heiress of Baldwin de Rivers, Earl of Devon. The Courtenays were also heirs of Isabel de Fors, and also quarter the Redvers lion
  4. ^ a b c Sanders, I.J., English Baronies, Oxford, 1960, p.148
  5. ^ Rose, Alexander (2003). Kings in the North. The House of Percy in British History. London: Phoenix. pp. 26–7. ISBN 1-84212-485-4. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  6. ^ Rose, Alexander (2003). Kings in the North. The House of Percy in British History. London: Phoenix. pp. 86–9. ISBN 1-84212-485-4. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  7. ^ a b c d Sanders