29 June 1537 – Death of Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland

Posted By on June 29, 2015

Henry Percy 6th Earl of NorthumberlandOn 29th June 1537, Henry Algernon Percy died at around the age of thirty-five. He was buried at Hackney Parish Church, and his will appointed the King as Supervisor and Edward Fox, Bishop of Hereford, and Thomas Cromwell as executors.

Henry Percy was the eldest son of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, and of Katherine Spencer and was born in around 1502. He was brought up in Cardinal Wolsey’s household and it was while he was there that he fell in love with Anne Boleyn on her return to the English court in late 1521. However, his father had already planned Percy’s marriage to Mary Talbot, daughter of George Talbot, fourth Earl of Shrewsbury. In addition, Anne was meant to be marrying James Butler, son of Piers Butler of Ireland. As a consequence, Wolsey and Percy’s father put a stop to the relationship between Percy and Anne Boleyn. Percy married Mary Talbot in 1524 but the marriage was not happy. In 1532, Mary accused her husband of being pre-contracted to Anne Boleyn and Percy was examined by the Archbishops of York and Canterbury. He swore that there was no truth to the story.

Percy served Henry VIII as warden of the east and middle marches, and was one of the peers appointed to judge George and Anne Boleyn in May 1536. He collapsed after Anne’s death sentence was pronounced, and his illness prevented him from taking an active role on the Pilgrimage of Grace, which may have been fortunate, since his brothers, Thomas and Ingram, were arrested for their involvement, and Thomas was executed. Ingram died in prison in the Tower of London.

Antiquary John Weever, in his book Ancient Funerall Monument, mentions the tomb of Henry Percy at Hackney and records that it had the following inscription: “Here lieth interred, Henry lord Percy, earl of Northumberland, knight of the most honourable order of the Garter, who died in this town the last of June 1537, the 29th of HEN VIII.”

You can read more about Henry Percy’s relationship with Anne Boleyn in my article The Early Life of Anne Boleyn Part Seven – The Butler, Chaplain, Courtier and Poet, or by watching the video below:

Also on this day in history…

  • 1509 – Death of Lady Margaret Beaufort, grandmother of Henry VIII and the matriarch of the Tudor dynasty, died at Cheyneygates, the Abbot of Westminster’s house. Click here to read more.
  • 1536 – Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, was stripped of his office of Lord Privy Seal. Cromwell succeeded him and was formally appointed 2nd July 1536. Wiltshire had held the office since January 1530. Click here to read more about this.
  • 1540 – Bill of attainder passed against Thomas Cromwell for the crimes of corruption, heresy and treason, stripping him of his honours and condemning him to death. The bill can be found in the Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 1, 1509-1577 (London, 1767-1830), p. 149 see http://www.british-history.ac.uk/lords-jrnl/vol1/p149a.
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