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Arms of Henry Percy, 2nd Baron Percy of Alnwick

Henry Percy, 2nd Baron Percy of Alnwick (1299?-1352)

HENRY PERCY, 2nd BARON PERCY OF ALNWICK (1299?-1352), was elder son of Henry Percy, first baron Percy of Alnwick, and is said to have been sixteen years old at his father's death, but was apparently still a minor on 28 June 1320.1 He had seisin of his lands on 26 Dec 1321, though he had not yet made proof of his age.2

He was with Thomas of Lancaster at Pontefract on 21 May 1321, but was warden of Scarborough Castle for the king on 13 Feb. 1322 and later in the year was employed against the adherents of Thomas of Lancaster in Yorkshire, and afterwards against the Scots. On 26 Sept. he was censured for letting the Scots escape unharmed. During the reign of Edward II he was summoned to various parliaments, and in 1324-5 for service in Guyenne. After the landing of Queen Isabella in September 1326 he joined her at Gloucester,3 and was one of the council of government appointed in the parliament of January 1327.4 On 13 Feb. 1328 he was appointed warden of the marches, and shortly afterwards commissioned to treat for peace with Scotland.5 In the summer he was besieged by Thomas Randolph, earl of Moray, at Alnwick.6 On 5 Sept. he was appointed chief warden of the marches, and on 9 Oct. one of the commissioners to renew the negotiations with Scotland, and assisted in completing the convention at Edinburgh on 17 March 1328, which was ratified by Edward at Northampton on 4 May.7 On 1 March 1328 he obtained a grant of Warkworth from the king.8 He had recovered his Scottish lands under the treaty with Bruce.

In May 1329 he went over to France with the king, and was present when Edward did homage at Amiens on 6 June9 During 1331 and 1332 he was employed as a justiciar and warden of the Scottish marches.10 He was with Edward at the siege of Berwick in July 1333, and probably at the battle of Halidon Hill. On 1 Oct. he was appointed to attend Edward Baliol's parliament, and was present at Edinburgh for this purpose in February 1334.11 He had previously been appointed constable of Berwick, and afterwards held the offices of constable of Berwick and Jedworth as compensation for surrendering his claims on Annandale and Lochmaben. In February 1335 he likewise received all the fees of Patrick, earl of March, in Northumberland.

In January 1335 he defeated the Scots, who were raiding in Redesdale.12 In the following July he took part in Edward's invasion of Scotland, advancing from Berwick in company with Baliol.13 In July 1336 he was with Edward III at Perth and apparently was again in Scotland early in 1337.14 In October 1337 he was fighting with the Scots in Allendale, and early in 1338 was sent to besiege Dunbar.15 In February 1339 he was a commissioner of array at York, and in October was again directed to help Baliol16 On 28 April 1340 he was appointed to treat with the Scots, and in June was one of the councillors of the young Duke of Cornwall during Edward's absence abroad.17 During 1341 he defeated the Scots at Farmley,18 and was employed in the abortive attempt to relieve Stirling.19 In 1342 he was present at the siege of Nantes,20 and in 1343 was engaged in keeping order on the Scottish marches.21 In 1345 he took part in defeating the invasion of Cumberland by William Douglas.22

In July 1346 Percy was one of the guardians of the kingdom during Edward's absence; and when in October David Bruce invaded England, he commanded the first division at the battle of Neville's Cross, where his valour contributed to the English victory23 After the battle Percy fell ill, and so could not share in the advance into Scotland24 On 26 Jan. 1347 he was ordered to serve under Edward Baliol for a year,25 and during this and the following year was engaged in the Scottish marches. He was employed in the negotiations with Scotland in 1349 and 1350, and in 1351 was a commissioner of array in Northumberland.

He died on 26 Feb. 1352, and was buried at Alnwick; his will, dated 13 Sept 1349, is printed in 'Testamenta Eboracensia.'26 Percy had been summoned to parliament from 1322. It was through him and his father that 'the Percies became the hereditary guardians of the north and the scourge of Scotland.'27 The Lanercost chronicler describes him as 'bonus præliator parvus miles et providus.'28 He married Idonea (in his will she is called Imania), daughter of Robert Clifford, who died in 1365, and founded a chantry for herself and her husband at Meaux.29 By her he had six sons and four daughters. [He was succeeded by his son Henry Percy, 3rd Baron Percy of Alnwick.]

—C. L. K.

1. Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward II, 1318-23, p. 201.
2. ib., p. 411.
3. Continuation of Adam of Murimuth's Chronicle, Adae Murimuth Continuatio Chronicarum, 1889 ed., p. 47.
4. Stubbs' Constitutional History, ii. 385.
5. Rymer's Fœdera, ii. 688-9.
6. Gray's Scalachronica, p. 155, Maitland Club.
7. Fœdera, ii. 715, 719, 734, 740.
8. Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edw III, p. 243.
9. Fœdera, ii. 764-5.
10. Bain's Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland, iii. 1026, 1032, 1056, 1057.
11. ib. iii. 1094; Fœdera, ii. 876.
12. Chronicles of Edward I and Edward II, ii. 121, Rolls Series.
13. Chronicon de Lanercost, Maitland Club, 1839, p. 281.
14. Bain, iii. 1209, 1230.
15. ib. iii. 1268; Chron. Lanercost, p. 295.
16. Fœdera, ii. 1070, 1093.
17. ib. ii. 1122, 1125.
18. Chronicon de Melsa, iii. 49, Rolls Series.
19. Bain, iii. 1378.
20. Froissart, Chronicles, iii. 24, ed. Luce.
21. Fœdera, ii. 1225, 1230, 1239.
22. Walsingham, Ypodigma Neustriæ, p. 285.
23. Froissart, iii. 129, iv 20-22, ed. Luce; Chron. Lanercost, pp. 348-50.
24. ib. p. 352.
25. Bain, iii. 1479.
26. Testamenta Eboracensia, i. 57-61, Surtees Society.
27. Burton, History of Scotland, ii. 312, 1872 ed.
28. "A good warrior, a small soldier, and a wise man." Lanercost, p. 350.
29. Chron. de Melsa, iii. 163.

      Excerpted from:

      Kingsford, C. L. "Henry Percy, 2nd Baron Percy of Alnwick."
      Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. XXIX.
      Sidney Lee, Ed.
      New York: Macmillan & Co., 1892. 838-40.

Other Local Resources:

Books for further study: Brenan, Gerald. A History of the House of Percy.
            Fremantle & Co., 1902.

Collins, Arthur. An History of the Ancient and Illustrious Family of the Percys.
           Gale ECCO, 2010. (Reprint from 1750)

De Fonblanque, E. Barrington. Annals of the House of Percy.
           London: Richard Clay & Sons, 1887.

Lomas, Richard. A Power in the Land: The Percys.
           East Linton: Tuckwell Press, Ltd., 1999.

Rose, Alexander. Kings in the North: The House of Percy in British History.
            Phoenix Press, 2003.

Henry Percy, 2nd Baron Percy of Alnwick, on the Web:

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