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

Posted By on June 29, 2015

Henry Percy 6th Earl of Northumberland On 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.

9 thoughts on “29 June 1537 – Death of Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland”

  1. Sher says:

    I have been to Hackney parish church but unable to find grave. Lucy Latimer who was also in the old church moved to new church

    1. Claire says:

      I’m going to edit the article to include the following:

      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.”

      Weever published his book in 1631 so the tomb was still there then.

      1. Sher says:

        i looked all around the church yard as its a fascinating church but the old church only the tower temains and there is a new church where the important monuments were moved to which includes margaret beau forts confessor however nothing for Percy. I emailed Hackney parish council but never got a reply, my aunt lives at the back of the church. Some interesting graves I know that makes me sound morbid. Lucy Latimer is in the corridor of the new church on the side and that was I imagine beautiful when in better order

      2. Sher says:

        i looked all around the church yard as its a fascinating church but the old church only the tower temains and there is a new church where the important monuments were moved to which includes margaret beau forts confessor however nothing for Percy. I emailed Hackney parish council but never got a reply, my aunt lives at the back of the church. Some interesting graves I know that makes me sound morbid. Lucy Latimer is in the corridor of the new church on the side and that was I imagine beautiful when in better order

  2. Was there ever a hint that Henry would rake-up the pre-contract when he wanted to be rid of Anne? It would have been a convenient way out, and he did use the tactic to his advantage later with Anne of Cleves.

    1. Hannele says:

      Henry Percy sent a letter where he reminded of his earlier vow that there was no pre-contract.

  3. Katherine says:

    That’s funny. Not haha funny, obviously, but … I know it is an unpopular opinion, but as far as such things exists, I do think that Henry Percy and Anne Boleyn was the Real Thing. I think it was true love. Puppy love, of course, but still. Of course Anne wouldn’t have objected to the fact that he was rich and powerful as the heir to a dukedom, and would be richer and more powerful still as a duke, but then again, who would?

  4. Christine says:

    I don’t believe that Percy was ever happy again after being forced to separate from Anne as his miserable marriage testifies, he had no children and he and his wife are said to have hated each other, the King ruined both him and Anne’s future happiness only to have her killed years later, he couldn’t leave them alone to be happy, she genuinely had affection for Percy although we don’t know if she actually loved him, but I think her feelings towards him were the closest she ever came to being in love, Henry bought her affection with the promise of marriage but I doubt she ever felt for him the way she did towards Percy, he suffered from an illness that robbed him of his life at the age of thirty five, it appears he was too sick to sit on Anne’s trial and his collapse when her sentence was passed proves it was emotionally upsetting for him, two lives were ruined because of a Kings selfish lust.

  5. Banditqueen says:

    Henry Percy was a man of integrity because he refused to play ball when Cromwell tried to bully him on Henry’s orders into saying that he and Anne Boleyn had been contracted to marry. Henry wanted to annul his marriage to Anne as well as execute her because he needed for Elizabeth to be made illegitimate. Percy said no.

    RIP Harry Percy. You had more balls than your King. YNWA

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