Yorkshire and Beyond


William de Percy 1st Baron de Percy.

In 1070 William was engaged on works connected with the rebuilding of York Castle after its destruction by the Danes and in 1072 he took part in the Conquerors expedition to Scotland. At the Domesday survey he was tenant in chief in the three ridings of Yorkshire, in Lindsey, with a small holding in Nottingham and of Humbledon Hants which he had received with his wife (Emma de Port). He was also an under tenant of the Earl of Chester in Whitby and in Catton and in the city of York and of the Bishop of Durham in Scarborough and Lund.
He built the castle at Topcliffe and before 1086 and re founded the monastery at Whitby. He was among the Barons present when the Conqueror heard a plea relating to property of the Abbey of Fecamp and he witnessed charters of William II in the period before 1095.

In 1096 he set out on the first crusade. While in the Holy Land his army captured a Turkish Garrison near Antioch. 

Ancient manuscript showing the use of the Percy Heraldry & Crescent.

Percy infantry (wearing the silver crescent) being hammered as they retreat at the battle of Towton.

It was usual then, that the vanquished would give up their emblem to their captors. In this case it was the silver crescent pennant of the Turks which was won by Baron Percy. This emblem became the Percy Badge (a sign of their victory). The manacles (handcuffs or leg irons) of the vanquished were incorporated into the badge to embellish the history. This badge is used by the Percy family to this very day and was used on their livery in medieval battle as seen above.

1097 AD – William died in sight of Jerusalem and was buried at Mount Joy near Jerusalem. (This was also the ancient burial site of Samuel of the Old Testament and the hill today is called Nebi Samwel) just 10 km’s NW of Jerusalem.

Following Williams dying wishes, Sir Ralph Eversly, a Knight carried Williams heart and captured pennon back to England. William’s heart was buried at Whitby Abbey, which he founded.

William had sons Alan, Walter, William, Richard and Arnolde.
William became the 2nd Abbot of Whitby in 1102.
From Richard sprang the Percies of Dunsley.
Arnolde de Percy witnessed his father William de Percy’s charter to Whitby and from him came the Percies of Kildale and Kilnwick Percy.
William de Percy had 2 brothers. Serlo de Percy became prior of Whitby Abbey and Picot de Percy was a tenant of William at Bolton upon Dearne and Sutton upon Derwent. Picot de Percy donated the church at Bolton Percy to Nostell priory. His son Robert de Percy gave the church at Sutton upon Derwent to Whitby Abbey witnessed by his son William. There was further issue from this branch of the family for in 1266 Piers de Percy held Wharram Percy in Chief and had other lands in Sutton upon Derwent, Carnaby and Bolton Percy which all came under the Percy fee. Piers de Percy was of the direct male Percy lineage, which apparently became extinct in 1168.

Alan de Percy, 2nd Baron de Percy (Magnus Alanus).

The son and heir of William de Percy was born in 1069. Alan issued charters to Whitby Abbey confirming gifts made by his father in Yorkshire and Lindsey and adding gifts of his own. He was a benefactor of St Peter’s hospital York. He sired an illegitimate son Alan de Percy who became a renowned soldier. Alan married Emma de Gant and died in 1120. His widow with consent of their son William gave land in Wold Newton to Bridlington Priory. There were three other sons, Walter Baron of Rougemont, Geoffrey de Percy, Henry de Percy, Robert de Percy and Gosfrid de Percy who was Abbot of St Mary’s at York. William de Percy 3rd Baron de Percy and son and heir of Alan. Married Alice daughter of Everard, Baron de Ros. He died in 1133.

William de Percy 4th Baron de Percy

The son and heir of William was born in 1112. In February 1136 King Stephen confirmed to Whitby Abbey the gifts made by him, his father and grand father and he attended the Kings court at Easter. In 1138 he was among the Yorkshire Barons who fought for Stephen at the battle of the Standard. He witnessed the confirmation charters of Henry II to Nostell Priory in July 1157 and to Whitby Abbey. In 1166 he held knights’ fees of the Bishop of Durham and in the honour of Richmond and had an inheritance in Normandy. He was the founder of Sallay (Sawley) Abbey on January 6 1147 on a site given by him, and to which he added several of the Percy lands in Craven. He also founded Stainfield Priory in Lincolnshire and was a benefactor of Byland and Fountains Abbeys and of Marksby and Sixle Priories in Lincolnshire. He also gave the church at Topcliffe to St Peters York. He married firstly Alice de Tonbridge and secondly Sibyl de Valognes widow of Robert de Roos.He died in 1168 and was buried at Fountains Abbey and was apparently the last of the direct male line. This is now shown to be incorrect.
Alan de Percy son and heir by his first wife witnessed his father’s early charters to Sallay Abbey. He died s.p as did all his brothers Walter, Richard and William who was the Abbot of Whitby. So at Easter 1175 the Percy inheritance was divided between the two daughters and co heirs of Willam de Percy, Maude wife of William Earl of Warwick and Agnes wife of Jocelin de Louvain the only one who had issue.
Agnes de Percy heiress married Jocelin de Louvain who was the half brother of Queen Adeliza, 2nd wife of King Henry I. Their father was Godrey Barbatus, Count of Brabant and Louvain and it was through her (Adeliza’s) endowment that Jocelin recieved the honour of the estate of Petworth in Sussex. In 1166 Jocelin held Knights fees amongst the tenants in chief in Yorkshire. Jocelin died in 1180. Agnes died in 1204. They had five sons who took their Mother’s surname. Percy.
Ralph de Percy returned to France and had issue.
Robert de Percy.
Josceline de Percy.
Richard the younger son was given interests including knights’ fees in Catton, Stamford Bridge, the city of York, and in Ludford Lincolnshire and he as did his elder brother took on their mother’s name.

In 1204 Richard de Percy was confirmed by the Sheriff of YorkshireRichardPpercy all the land in the bailiwick which his Mother had and that which the countess Maude his aunt held in the Chester fee. In 1205 the King confirmed to Sixle Priory the Manor of Ludford.

These divisions of the Percy inheritance led to several years of disputes between Richard and his brother’s son William. Richard managed to maintain possession of his share until his death but it did not pass to his own son Henry to whom however he had granted the manor ‘de Bello Alneto’ and the will of Settle in Yorkshire but to his nephew William!

Richard built a chapel in the churchyard at Topcliffe and was of the Barons appointed to enforce the provisions of the Magna Carta and was among those whose excommunication by the Pope was procured by the King in 1216. In the same year he was one of the Yorkshire Barons who subdued that county on behalf of the King of France and on May 11 1217 the King ordered the seizing of all his land to be given to his nephew William. But his allegiance returned to the King and restoration was ordered and he became a justice at York.

He married 1stly Alice and 2ndly Agnes daughter of Neville of Raby. Two sons Henry and Alexander were born as was a daughter Alicia de Percy. Richard died in 1244 and was buried in Fountains Abbey. His son Henry had issue.

Sir Henry de Percy Kt and 5th Baron de Percy,

Was the eldest son of Agnes de Percy and Joscelin de Louvain. He too took his Mothers name. He inherited the honour of Petworth from his father and other fees from his mother in Yorkshire. He married Isabel de Brus and died in 1198 and was buried at the Abbey at St Lo in Normandy.

William de Percy 6th Baron de Percy

Son and heir of Henry was born in 1193 and was a minor at the time of his fathers death. He inherited the honour of Petworth from his father but he obtained a moiety only of the Percy Barony held by Maude his great aunt, the moiety of his grandmother Agnes passing to his Uncle Richard. He was granted the Manor of Spothforth. He later held the mesne tenures which had formed the maritagium of his ancestress Emma de Port. He married 1stly Ellen de Balliol whose father was the Chamberlain of Scotland and they had six sons and a daughter.
Sir Ingelgram de Percy Kt and Lord of Dalton from whom descended the Percies of Dalton.
William Percy, canon of St Peters, York.
Walter Percy, from whom descended the Percies of Kildale and Percy of Ormsby (extinct in the 16th century).
Geoffrey Alan.
Josceline Lord of Levingstone.
Eleana, Abbess of Werewell Hertfordshire.
William married secondly Joan de Briwere having five daughters, she brought to the family the Dalton estate in Durham. William died in 1245 and was buried at Sallay.

Sir Henry de Percy 7th Baron de Percy

Son and heir of William and his first wife. He was born in 1228 and was a Knight by 1257. In disputes between the King and Barons, Percy sided with the latter and his estates were seized, but he submitted and was granted a restoration. In September 1268 at York he married Eleanor Plantagenet 1st daughter of John de Warrene Earl of Surrey who’s mother was Alice a sister of King Henry III, a daughter of Hugh the Count of Marche and Isabel the widow of King John.
They had three sons including William de Percy.
Henry died in 1272 and was buried at Sallay as was his widow.
John de Percy was the first son and heir of Sir Henry. He was born in 1270 but died in 1293 and due to the minority of the remaining sons the custody of the estates (an heir was not named) was granted to Queen Eleanor in 1272. In 1294 the King (at Henry’s proof of age), granted Henry the wardships of John his said brother. But controversy surrounded this decision as there was thought to be an elder brother William. Evidence has apparently been discovered of proof that an elder brother William was in existence at this time and that he had issue.

Henry de Percy 8th Baron de Percy and 1st Lord Percy of Alnwick

Was born at Petworth in 1272 and succeeded his brother John in 1293. He was Regent during the Kings absence abroad and was among English magnates summonsed to a convention at York to which the Scottish prelates and nobles were ordered to attend.
In 1299 Henrico de Percy was summonsed to parliament with a Barony By Writ, whereby he is held to have become the 1st LORD PERCY. In July 1300 he was with his maternal grandfathers retinue at the siege of Carlaverock where he displayed for the first time a yellow banner with a blue lion. This represented a major change from the Percies ancient arms, azure, a fess engrailed argent and then azure, a fess engrailed d’or to this blazon D’or a lion rampant azure. The reasons why Henry de Percy changed his arms is unsure and it is still a matter of conjecture where this new blue lion originated. Some have associated the blue lion with that of Louvain, others with that of Fitzalan Earls of Arundel.
Henry was the constable of Scarborough castle by 1307 and was summonsed to the coronation of Edward II and in November 1309 purchased Alnwick castle from the Bishop of Durham.
He married Eleanor de Arundle and they had two sons Henry and William. Henry died in 1315 at Alnwick and was buried at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. His widow a Dowager died in 1328 and was buried in Beverley, Yorkshire where her orbit is celebrated.

Interesting Percy heritage locations in Yorkshire.

Sallay (Sawley).
Bolton Percy.
Kilnwick Percy.
Wharram Percy.
Beverley Minster.
York Minster.
Fountains Abbey.
St Mary’s York.
St Denys Church York.
Whitby Abbey.
Rivaulx Abbey.

Further Links To These Locations Will Be Forthcoming.