'Percy MSS'

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

18th century partial transcription of 'The regulations and establishment of the household of Henry Algernon Percy, the fifth earl of Northumberland, at his castles of Wressle and Leconfield, in Yorkshire', first published in 1770 by Bishop Thomas Percy

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1770 Bishop Thomas Percy published 'The regulations and establishment of the household of Henry Algernon Percy'. This book was reprinted in 1827 and again in 1905, the modern edition being a faithful reprinting of the original of 1770. U DP83/1 is a partial transcription of the 1770 edition and is described as being MS notes on the household book of the earls of Northumberland, but also on Wressle Castle before it was destroyed by fire in the eighteenth century. The household book is from the generation of Henry Algernon Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland, who was born in 1478. He married Catherine, daughter of Sir Robert Spencer, and in 1489 succeeded his father as earl of Northumberland, having already been brought up at court in attendance of Prince Henry. In 1497 he served in the royal army against the Cornish rebels and fought at Blackheath. In 1498 he received livery of his lands and began the management of his enormous estates and many castles including Leconfield and the castle at Wressle that burnt down in the eighteenth century.

Henry Algernon Percy had a huge annual income of £2300, but never spent less than £1500 on his retinue of servants. When he escorted Margaret up to James IV in Scotland she was struck by the magnificence of his dress and entourage. Although he spent his life in the service of successive monarchs, he managed to irritate first Henry VII, who fined him a massive £10,000 (only half of which he managed to pay before the debt was cancelled by Henry VIII), and then Wolsey who hauled him in front of Star Chamber. The combination of his extravagance and the cost of royal pleasure in terms of hospitality and displeasure in terms of fines, meant that when he died in 1527 he left behind large debts.

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Purchased from E Bocking of Norwich between 17 November 1949 and 2 October 1951

Related Material

Note of ordnance belonging to the town which had been removed at various times for services abroad at Scarborough, Wressle Castle etc, c.1644 [Ref C BRS/7/143]

Bibliography

  • Dictionary of National Biography
  • Percy, Thomas, The regulations and establishment of the household of Henry Algernon Percy, the fifth earl of Northumberland, at his castles of Wressle and Leconfield, in Yorkshire (1770; rep. 1905)