Percy, Henry 9th Earl of Northumberland

Male 1564 - 1632  (68 years)


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  • Name Percy, Henry 
    Suffix 9th Earl of Northumberland 
    Born 27 Apr 1564  Tynemouth Castle Northumberland England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 5 Nov 1632  Petworth, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I8171  GrangerMusgrave
    Last Modified 27 Nov 2016 

    Father Percy, Henry 2nd Earl of Northumberland,   b. 1530, Petworth, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Jun 1585  (Age 55 years) 
    Mother Neville, Katherine,   b. 1545, Snape Yorkshire England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Oct 1596  (Age 51 years) 
    Married 25 Jan 1561  Snape Yorkshire England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F5830  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Devereux, Lady Dorothy,   b. 1561, Chartley Staffordshire England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Aug 1619, Petworth, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 58 years) 
    Married 1594 
    SEPA 1605 
    Children 
     1. Percy, Lady Dorothy,   b. 1598, Northumberland England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Aug 1650, Petworth, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years)
     2. Percy, Lady Lucy,   b. 1600,   d. 5 Nov 1660, Cassiobury House Watford Hertfordshire England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)
     3. Percy, Algernon 10th Earl of Northumberland,   b. 29 Sep 1602, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Oct 1668, Petworth, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years)
    Last Modified 27 Nov 2016 10:52:12 
    Family ID F5832  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Henry Percy
    Henry Percy

  • Notes 
    • Henry Percy 9th Earl of Northumberland (April 27 1564—November 5 1632) was an English aristocrat. He was a grandee and one of the wealthiest peers of the court of Elizabeth I who under James I was a long-term prisoner in the Tower of London. He is known for the circles he moved in as well as for his own achievements. He acquired the sobriquet The Wizard Earl from his scientific and alchemical experiments his passion for cartography and his large library. His mild deafness and slight speech impediment did not prevent him from becoming an important intellectual and cultural figure of his generation.

      Catholic sympathiser

      Henry was a Roman Catholic and suffered under the penal laws passed by Elizabeth I in the 1580s. When it became clear that the Protestant James VI of Scotland was likely to succeed Elizabeth Henry sent Thomas Percy a recent Catholic convert on a secret mission to James's court three times in 1602. He said that English Catholics would accept James as king if he reduced the persecution of Catholics. Henry employed Sir Thomas Percy as a rent-collector at Syon House. Thomas was the great-grandson of the 4th Earl of Northumberland but was unscrupulous with 34 charges of dishonesty brought against him. Henry wrote to James "It were a pity to lose a good Kingdom for not tolerating a mass in a corner". Through Sir Thomas Percy Henry received loosely-worded assurances of religious tolerance from James.[1][2]

      Shortly before James's accession to the English throne in 1603 Robert Cecil 1st Earl of Salisbury through Lord Henry Howard particularly warned the king against Henry Brooke 11th Baron Cobham Sir Walter Ralegh and Percy.[3] This theory of the "diabolical triplicity" rested on innuendo about the occult interests supposedly cultivated by the intellectual circles led by Percy and Ralegh and possibly on the traitorous intent suggested only by rumours from the 1580s that Percy would marry Arbella Stuart.[4][5] Brooke led the Main Plot against James and Ralegh soon lost his freedom. Percy on the other hand was appointed to the Privy Council.

      Sir Thomas Percy went on to become one of the five conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. When the plot was discovered Sir Thomas fled and was besieged at Holbeache House in Warwickshire. On November 8 1605 a marksman shot dead both Robert Catesby and Sir Thomas with a single bullet. As a result the Earl of Northumberland was suspected of being part of the plot and spent the next 17 years as a prisoner in the Tower of London. He also paid a fine of £30000.

      In the Tower

      Still a rich man Percy made himself comfortable in the Tower of London. He took over Martin Tower and had a covered-over bowling alley installed. Ralegh who preceded him to the Tower with a death sentence hanging over him he saw regularly. From 1616 Robert Carr 1st Earl of Somerset and Frances Carr Countess of Somerset were inmates and he was on social terms with them. Frances promoted the marriage of his second daughter Lucy Percy to James Hay 1st Earl of Carlisle while as a father he disapproved and required Lucy to reside with him; but Frances outwitted him.[6]

      He met friends while in the Tower[7]; these included Thomas Harriot. With Ralegh they discussed advanced scientific ideas and smoked tobacco.

      Intellectual interests and associates

      Because of his interest in scientific experiments and his library Henry acquired the nickname "The Wizard Earl". The library was one of the largest in England at the time. He was a patron to Thomas Harriot Nicholas Hill Robert Hues Nathaniel Torporley and Walter Warner.[8] The astrologer John Dee nearby Syon House at Mortlake was also a friend of Henry and their circles overlapped.[9] Harriot had been a navigational tutor to Ralegh and his captains. From 1598 (or possibly from 1607) Harriot lived at Syon House. There he used a telescope to make a map of the moon several months before Galileo did the same. He may have been the first person to observe sunspots.

      Percy had also connections to the literati. George Peele wrote a poem The Honour of the Garter dedicated to Percy and for the occasion of his admission to the Order of the Garter on 26 June 1593. For his efforts Peele was paid £3.[10][11] Christopher Marlowe claimed his acquaintance and certainly moved in the same group.[12] Percy was a friend to John Donne. After Donne's elopement and clandestine marriage in 1601 he had the task of taking a letter for him to the new father-in-law Sir George More.[13]

      In William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost (1594) there is a mention of the "School of Night". It has been argued that this refers of a circle of scientific investigators which met at Syon House though other commentators think the word "school" is a misprint for something like "shawl." Thomas Harriot and were supposedly members. Frances Yates comments on this hypothetical group supposedly including also George Chapman as the author of Shadow of Night as arguably part of Ralegh's circle to the effect that they would be "Saturnians" in the sense of her study.[14]

      References

      * Andrew Pyle (editor) (2000) Dictionary of Seventeenth Century British Philosophers

      Notes

      1. ^ Alice Hogge God's Secret Agents (2005) pp. 303-5.
      2. ^ Gerald Brenan William Alexander Lindsay A History of the House of Percy (1902) vol. ii p. 81.
      3. ^ Christopher Lee 1603: A Turning Point in British History (2003) p. 101.
      4. ^ Robert Lacey Sir Walter Ralegh p. 274.
      5. ^ Sarah Gristwood Arbella England's Lost Queen (2003) p. 109.
      6. ^ Anne Somerset (1997) Unnatural Murder: Poison at the Court of King James I p. 429 and p. 433.
      7. ^ Gordon Batho The Education of a Stuart Nobleman British Journal of Educational Studies 1957
      8. ^ Pyle pp. 646-8 article Percy Henry 9th Earl of Northumberland.
      9. ^ Peter J. French John Dee: The World of an Elizabethan Magus (1984) p. 62 and pp. 171-2.
      10. ^ Millar MacLure Christopher Marlowe: The Critical Heritage (1995) p. 39.
      11. ^ Patrick Gerard Cheney The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe (2004) p. 282.
      12. ^ Park Honan Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spypp. 235-241 and p. 280.
      13. ^ David L. Edwards (2001) John Donne: Man of Flesh and Spirit p. 255.
      14. ^ Frances Yates The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (2001 edition) p. 169.


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