Percy family, Dukes of Northumberland
This page summarises records created by this Family
The summary includes a brief description of the collection(s) (usually including the covering dates of the collection), the name of the archive where they are held, and reference information to help you find the collection.
The Percy family was established in the North Riding of Yorkshire (Topcliffe, etc) and elsewhere in the 11th century. Petworth (Sussex) was acquired c.1150, and Leconfield (Yorkshire, East Riding) c.1240. Henry, 1st Lord Percy, purchased the barony of Alnwick (Northumberland) in 1309, and his son had a grant of the reversion of Warkworth (Northumberland) in 1329.
The 4th Lord Percy was created Earl of Northumberland in 1377. In 1386 he married Maud, widow of Gilbert Umfraville, Earl of Angus, and sister of Lord Lucy of Egremont, through whom estates in Northumberland (Prudhoe, ex Umfraville), Cumberland (Cockermouth, Egremont, Allerdale), the East Riding of Yorkshire (Wressell) and elsewhere came to the Percy family. The 3rd Earl (1421-61) married Eleanor Poynings, who brought properties in the west of England and Wales descending from the Poynings, Fitzpaine and Bryan families, including Haselbury Bryan (Dorset), Stogursey (Somerset) and Laugharne (Carmarthenshire).
The 6th Earl made over his estates to the Crown shortly before he died in 1537, but they were mostly restored to his nephew and successor in 1557. The 8th Earl married c.1562 a daughter and co-heir of John Neville, Lord Latimer, bringing the estate of Burton Latimer (Northamptonshire) and other valuable properties into the family. The 9th Earl (1564-1632) acquired the freehold of Syon and Isleworth (Middlesex) in 1603-4, to which other Middlesex properties (East Bedfont and Hatton) were added from 1656. The 10th Earl (1602-68) acquired Northumberland House in the Strand (London) at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Suffolk, in 1642.
Some outlying properties were sold in the late 17th century, but the principal Percy estates (Petworth, etc in Sussex, Alnwick, Warkworth, Prudhoe, etc in Northumberland, Leconfield and Wressell in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Topcliffe and Catton in the North Riding, Spofforth and Tadcaster in the West Riding, Cockermouth, Egremont, etc in Cumberland, Syon in Middlesex and Northumberland House) passed on the death of the 11th Earl in 1670 to his daughter Elizabeth, who in 1682 married Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset (d. 1748). On the death of their son the 7th Duke in 1750 the dukedom passed to the male heir (see Seymour, Dukes of Somerset), but the Seymour and Percy estates were divided. The Seymour estates were inherited by co-heirs (see Manners, Dukes of Rutland and Wyndham of Orchard Wyndham). Of the Percy estates, those in Cumberland, Yorkshire and Sussex passed to a nephew of the 7th Duke, Sir Charles Wyndham (see Wyndham, Barons Leconfield). The Northumberland and Middlesex estates, however, passed to the 7th Duke's daughter Elizabeth, who in 1740 had married Sir Hugh Smithson, 4th Bt. The Smithson family had estates in the North Riding of Yorkshire (Stanwick, etc), County Durham (Darlington), Middlesex (Tottenham) and London. Sir Hugh Smithson succeeded by special remainder to the Earldom of Northumberland and was created Duke of Northumberland in 1766.
The Werrington (Devon and Cornwall) estate was purchased in 1775 and sold in 1864. On the death of the 4th Duke without issue in 1865 he was succeeded by his cousin the 2nd Earl of Beverley (whose father, second son of the first Duke, had been created Earl of Beverley in 1790: the family had property at Airmyn, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, derived from the Smithsons, and the parliamentary borough of Bere Alston in Devon). The 6th Duke (1810-99) married in 1845 Louisa, daughter and co-heir of Henry Drummond of Albury (Surrey).
Estates in 1883: Duke of Northumberland: Northumberland 181,616 acres, Surrey 3,765 acres, Middlesex 882 acres, Co Durham 134 acres, total 186,397 acres worth £176,048 a year; Dowager Duchess: Yorks NR 5,683 acres (the Stanwick estate) worth £8,320 a year.
|Sources of authority:||Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Principal family and estate collections L-Z, 1999.|
|Name authority reference:||GB/NNAF/F87767 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/F10786 )|