- Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland
Blessed Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland (
1528- 22 August 1572) was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Percyand Eleanor, daughter of Sir Guiscard Harbottal. He was the nephew of Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, with whom Anne Boleynhad a romantic association before she became the wife of King Henry VIII. When Thomas was eight years old his father was executed at Tyburn( 2 June, 1537) for having taken a leading part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, and he also is considered a martyr by many. Thomas and his brother Henry were then removed from their mother's keeping and entrusted to Sir Thomas Tempest.
In 1549, when Thomas Percy came of age, an Act was passed "for the restitution in blood of Mr. Thomas Percy". Shortly afterwards he was knighted, and, three years later, in Queen Mary's reign, he regained his ancestral honours and lands. Declared governor of Prudhoe Castle he besieged and took
Scarborough Castle, which was seized by rebels in 1557. In reward the he was granted the title of Earl of Northumberlandand the Baronies of Percy, Poynings, Lucy, Bryan, and Fitzpane were restored to him. He was installed at Whitehallwith great pomp, and soon after was named Warden General of the Marches, in which capacity he fought and defeated the Scots. In 1558 he married Anne Somerset, daughter of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester.
Life under Elizabeth's Reign
On Elizabeth's accession the earl, whose loyalty to the Catholic Church was known, was kept in the North while the anti-Catholic measures of Elizabeth's first Parliament were passed. Elizabeth continued to show him favour, and in 1563 gave him the
Order of the Garter. He had then resigned the wardenship and was living in the South. But the systematic persecution of the Catholics rendered their position most difficult, and in the autumn of 1569 the Catholic gentry in the North, stirred up by rumours of the approaching excommunication of Elizabeth, were planning to liberate Mary, Queen of Scots, and obtain liberty of worship. Earl Thomas with the Earl of Westmorland wrote to the pope asking for advice, but before their letter reached Rome circumstances hurried them into action against their better judgment. After the Rising of the Northfailed, Thomas fled to Scotland, where he was captured by the Earl of Morton, one of the leading Scottish nobles. After three years, he was sold to the English Government for two thousand pounds. He was conducted to Yorkand beheaded in a public execution, refusing to save his life by abandoning his religion. His wife survived him, as did four daughters who were his co-heirs. The earldom passed to his brother.
He was beatified by Leo XIII on 13 May, 1895, and his festival was appointed to be observed in the Dioceses of Hexham and Newcastle on 14 November.
He and Anne Somerset were parents to five children:
*Thomas Percy (d. 1560).
*Elizabeth Percy. Married Richard Woodroffe of Woolley son of Francis Woodroffe.
*Joan Percy. Married
Lord Henry Seymour. He was a younger son of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somersetand his wife Anne Stanhope.
*Lucy Percy. Married Sir Edward Stanley. He was a younger son of
Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derbyand Dorothy Howard. Dorothy was a daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolkand his second wife Agnes Tilney.
*Mary Percy (
11 June, 1570- 1643). A nun. Founder of Benedictine Dames in Brusselsfrom which nearly all the existing houses of Benedictine nuns in England are descended.
* [http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2312 Entry in Catholic.org]
NAME=Percy, Thomas, 7th Earl of Northumberland
Earl of Northumberland
DATE OF BIRTH=1528
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH=
August 22, 1572
PLACE OF DEATH=
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