Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland bigraphy, stories - English aristocrat

Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland : biography

27 April 1564 - 5 November 1632

Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland KG (27 April 1564 – 5 November 1632) was an English aristocrat. He was a grandee and one of the wealthiest peers of the court of Elizabeth I. Under James I, Henry was a long-term prisoner in the Tower of London. He is known for the circles he moved in as well as for his own achievements. He acquired the sobriquet The Wizard Earl (also given to Gerald FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Kildare), from his scientific and alchemical experiments, his passion for cartography, and his large library. His mild deafness and slight speech impediment did not prevent him from becoming an important intellectual and cultural figure of his generation.

Early life

He was born at Tynemouth Castle in Northumberland, England, the son of Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland, whom he succeeded in 1585. He was brought up a Protestant, as his father had been, taking instruction from the vicar of Egremont. This did not prevent suspicions in later life, particularly when he associated with Charles Paget, that he was a crypto-Catholic.:s:Percy, Henry (1564-1632) (DNB00) Around 1586, he first employed the artist Nicolas Hilliard paying 60 shillings for his portrait.Batho, G. R., ed., Household Papers of Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, Camden Society, (1962), 64-65.

Although his title was from the north of England, Percy also had estates in the south at Petworth House, and also and at Syon House, a few miles north of Richmond-upon-Thames, acquired by his marriage to Dorothy Devereux (sister of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex) in 1594.

They had four children:

  • Lady Dorothy Percy (c.1598- 20 August 1659); married Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester, by whom she had six children.
  • Lady Lucy Percy (1599/1600- 5 November 1660); married as his second wife James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle.
  • Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland (29 September 1602 – 13 October 1668); married firstly, Anne Cecil, by whom he had five daughters, including Lady Elizabeth Percy, Countess of Essex; he married secondly, Lady Elizabeth Howard, by whom he had his heir, Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland.
  • Henry Percy, Baron Percy of Alnwick (1604- April 1659); died unmarried.

Through his eldest daughter Dorothy, Countess of Leicester, he is an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales. Though it did produce a male heir, Algernon, the marriage was not successful, and the couple separated after a time.

Intellectual interests and associates

Because of his interest in scientific experiments and his library, Henry acquired the nickname "The Wizard Earl". The library was one of the largest in England at the time. He was a patron to Thomas Harriot, Nicholas Hill, Robert Hues, Nathaniel Torporley and Walter Warner.Pyle, pp. 646-8, article Percy, Henry, 9th Earl of Northumberland. The astrologer John Dee, nearby Syon House at Mortlake, was also a friend of Henry, and their circles overlapped.Peter J. French, John Dee: The World of an Elizabethan Magus (1984), p. 62 and pp. 171-2. Harriot had been a navigational tutor to Ralegh and his captains. From 1598 (or possibly from 1607) Harriot lived at Syon House. There he used a telescope to make a map of the moon several months before Galileo did the same. He may have been the first person to observe sunspots. Percy had also connections to the literati. George Peele wrote a poem The Honour of the Garter, dedicated to Percy and for the occasion of his admission to the Order of the Garter, on 26 June 1593. For his efforts Peele was paid £3.Millar MacLure, Christopher Marlowe: The Critical Heritage (1995), p. 39.Patrick Gerard Cheney, The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe (2004), p. 282. Christopher Marlowe claimed his acquaintance and certainly moved in the same group.Park Honan, Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy,pp. 235-241 and p. 280. Percy was a friend to John Donne. After Donne's elopement and clandestine marriage in 1601, he had the task of taking a letter for him to the new father-in-law, Sir George More.David L. Edwards (2001), John Donne: Man of Flesh and Spirit, p. 255.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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