KS3 > The Reformation > MPs > Sir Henry Percy, 8th Earl Northumberland
The Percys were a great noble family that had controlled large areas of the North of England for many years. However, when Henry Percy was just five years old his father, Thomas Percy, was executed for his part in the Pilgrimage of Grace.
Because of this Henry Percy and his elder brother lost their inheritance until 1549, when some lands were returned to them. Henry’s brother became Earl of Northumberland in 1557. Sir Henry fought against the Scots and, with his brother, tried to regain their family’s former power and land.
Emblem of Percy moon receiving light from the Tudor sun
(Royal 18 D II f. 200)
© The British Library (Illuminated manuscripts)
Henry Percy’s religious beliefs were unclear. Some thought he was Protestant, others were not convinced. In 1569-70 his brother was part of a Catholic rebellion against Elizabeth, but Henry stayed loyal. Many historians believe he only stood for Parliament in 1571 to make sure he inherited his brother’s title. He did, in 1572, and afterwards sat in the House of Lords.
He returned to court later in 1572 but was soon in trouble again after he helped another Catholic plotter escape from England. He was arrested and placed in the Tower of London. By this time several of Elizabeth I’s councillors believed he was a Catholic. He was found shot in the Tower in 1585, with his pistol by his side.