William 1st Baron Percy Aux Gernons

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William "Algernon" de Percy, 1st Baron

Also Known As: "1st Baron Percy", "William /Percy/", "Algernon"
Birthdate: (62)
Birthplace: Perci-En-Auge, Normandy, France
Death: 1096 (58-66)
Mount Joy, near Jerusalem, Palestine
Place of Burial: Mountt Joy, Near Jerusalem, Palestine
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Geoffrey de Percy lll "Count of Caux and Poictiers and Margaret dePercy
Husband of Emma de Port
Father of Alan Percy 2nd Baron of Percy; Walter De Percy; Arnald de Percy, of Kildale; William de Percy, Whitby; Geoffrey Percy and 1 other
Brother of Abbot Serlo De de Percy and Picot Percy

Occupation: Baron, 1st Degree B. Percy, 1st Baron
Managed by: Charles Arthur Chester
Last Updated:

About William 1st Baron Percy Aux Gernons

The title Baron Percy has been created several times in the Peerage of England. The first, in 1066, became extinct in 1299. The second, in 1299, became extinct in 1517. The third, in 1557, became extinct in 1670. The present creation was in 1722, by writ of summons.

1 Barons Percy, first Creation (1066) 2 Barons Percy (of Alnwick), second Creation (1299) 3 Barons Percy (of Alnwick), third Creation (1557) 4 Barons Percy, fourth Creation (1722)

Barons Percy, first Creation (1066) William de Percy, 1st Baron Percy (d. 1096) Alan de Percy, 2nd Baron Percy (ca. 1069-1135) William de Percy, 3rd Baron Percy (d. ca. 1150)

William de Percy, 4th Baron Percy (1112-1175)

Henry de Percy, 5th Baron Percy (d. 1198)

William de Percy, 6th Baron Percy (1193-1245) Henry de Percy, 7th Baron Percy (1228-1272)

Henry de Percy, 8th Baron Percy (1273-1314) (1299 created Baron Percy of Alnwick)

[edit] Barons Percy (of Alnwick), second Creation (1299)

Henry de Percy, 1st Baron Percy (1273-1314)

Henry de Percy, 2nd Baron Percy (1300-1351)

Henry de Percy, 3rd Baron Percy (1320-1368)

Henry Percy, 4th Baron Percy (1341-1408) (1377 created (1st) Earl of Northumberland)

until 1527 see: Earl of Northumberland (2nd to 5th) Barons Percy (of Alnwick), third Creation (1557) see Earl of Northumberland, 7th - 11th Barons Percy, fourth Creation (1722)

This barony was created by error, when the 7th Duke of Somerset was called to Parliament in the barony Percy, which was believed to have been last held by his mother, Elizabeth. See this article for details.

Algernon Seymour, 1st Baron Percy, 7th Duke of Somerset (1684-1750)

Elizabeth Seymour, 2nd Baroness Percy (1716-1776)

Hugh Percy, 3rd Baron Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland (1742-1817)

Hugh Percy, 4th Baron Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland (1785-1847)

Algernon Percy, 5th Baron Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland (1792-1865)

John James Hugh Henry Stewart-Murray, 6th Baron Percy, 7th Duke of Atholl (1840-1917)

John George Stewart-Murray, 7th Baron Percy, 8th Duke of Atholl (1871-1942)

James Thomas Stewart-Murray, 8th Baron Percy, 9th Duke of Atholl (1879-1957)

Hugh Algernon Percy, 9th Baron Percy, 10th Duke of Northumberland (1914-1988)

Henry Alan Walter Richard Percy, 10th Baron Percy, 11th Duke of Northumberland (1953-1995)

Ralph George Algernon Percy, 11th Baron Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland (b. 1956)

[edit] References

Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page

thePeerage.com website

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Percy"

Died: 1096 Buried: Mount Joy, Jerusalem Notes: Said to have accompanied Hugh d'Avranches, later Earl of Chester, from Normandy to England. See The Complete Peerage vol.X,p436. Father: Geoffrey De PERCY Mother: Margaret ? Married: Emma De PORT Children:

1. Alan De PERCY (2º B. Percy)

2. Walter De PERCY

3. William De PERCY (Abbot of Whitby)

4. Richard De PERCY

In 1070 he was engaged on works connected with the rebuilding of York Castle after its destruction by the Danes and in 1072 he took part in the Conquerors expedition to Scotland.

In 1096 he set out on the first crusade and died and was buried at Mount Joy near Jerusalem. Following Williams dying wishes Sirralph Eversly a Knight carried his heart back to England and it was buried at Whitby Abbey.


William de Percy (d.1096/9), 1st feudal baron of Topcliffe in Yorkshire,[1] known as Aux Gernons ("with whiskers"), was a Norman who arrived in England immediately after the Norman Conquest of England of 1066, and was the founder of the powerful English House of Percy.

The Cartularium abbathiae de Whitteby states that Hugh d'Avranches and William de Percy arrived in England in 1067.[2]

It is possible that Percy had been one of the Normans to whom Edward the Confessor had given lands, but who were later expelled by Harold Godwinson. This may explain Percy's unusual epithet, Aux Gernons, as at the time Normans were generally cleanshaven and the English were not, and it may be that Percy had assimilated local custom.[3] Later generations of Percys would use the soubriquet, as the Christian name Algernon Following the rebellion of Gospatric Earl of Northumbria, and the subsequent Harrying of the North, large swathes of territory in northern England and the Earldom of Chester were granted to Hugh d'Avranches, who had been instrumental in the devastation. Percy in turn was granted territory by d'Avranches, in addition to those already held by him from the king.[4] At the time of the Domesday Book of 1086, Percy was in possession as a tenant-in-chief of a hundred and eighteen manors in Lincolnshire and the North Riding of Yorkshire, with further lands in Essex and Hampshire.[5]

Building works[edit]

Percy set about fortifying his landholdings, constructing motte and bailey castles at Spofforth and at Topcliffe, where was situated the caput of his feudal barony. He granted land to the Benedictine order and financed the construction of the new Whitby Abbey, amongst the ruins of the Anglo-Saxon Abbey of Streoneshalh.

Marriage and progeny[edit]

Percy married an English noblewoman called Emma de Porte, her epithet presumably came from her landholdings at Seamer, a once thriving harbour in North Yorkshire. It may be the case that the lands granted to Percy by the king were de jure uxoris.[6] By Emma de Porte, Percy produced four sons: Alan de Percy, 2nd feudal baron of Topcliffe (d.1130/5) who married Emma de Ghent, daughter of Gilbert I de Ghent (d. circa 1095).[1] Walter de Percy Willam de Percy, 2nd Abbot of Whitby Richard de Percy

Death on the First Crusade[edit]

Percy accompanied Duke Robert Curthose on the First Crusade, where he died within sight of Jerusalem. His body was buried at Antioch, and his heart was returned to England and is buried at Whitby.[7]


Who were the Percy’s?

What has been previously written and published about the origins of the Percy’s, says they were a Viking/Norman family descended from Mainfred, the Danish Chieftain who settled in Normandy before 886 as has been described wherein there is an essence of fact.

What is true, is that the family’s chief seat was at a place called Perci in Normandy and according to custom they took their name from their property. The history of this great family prior to this is reflected in what is now known of their heraldry and DNA which all points toward their existence before they came to Normandy to the town of Lille near Bethune in Flanders.

The first member of the Percy family to come to England was Alan de Percy well before 1066. The next to arrive was William de Percy a son of Alan (1030 – 1096), and an intimate friend of William the Conquerer; he came to England in 1067 and was known as ‘Algersnons’ due to his wearing of whiskers – a beard. This William de Percy or ‘Algersnons’ established himself in the North of England immediately, and by the time Domesday Book was compiled, he was listed as being Lord of over 100 manors. His descendants bore the title Baron Percy.

It is an illustrious pedigree, second to none. Only one thing is wrong! The current Duke of Northumberland and recipient of the family’s ancient titles is not a Percy at all. His surname and that of his ancestors should be Smithson.

In the early 17th century the 10th Earl of Northumberland Algernon Percy played a prominate part in the restoration of the Monarchy. He married twice; first to a daughter of the Cecil family, in spite of his father’s deep disapproval, who said that ‘the blood of a Percy would not mix with the blood of a Cecil if you poured it on a dish’. That may have well been the case, but the trouble was it appeared that there was very little Percy blood left, and something had to be done. The marriage produced five daughters, and the wife died. His second wife was a daughter of the Howards and this marriage produced one son the 11th Earl who had in turn one son who died in infancy. With that child the Percy’s apparently came to an end as no effort was made to locate any other living cadet branches of the family to find any direct male descendants of William with the whiskers. (see James Percy the Trunckmaker case!). All that was left it seemed was one Daughter the Lady Elizabeth Percy, who became the loneliest and richest heiress in the country when her father died while in Italy in 1670 at the age of twenty five. As a mere infant of four years she was to carry the heavy burden and responsibilities of the family’s vast estates. The Earldom of Northumberland and the Barony of Percy were now it seems wrongly deemed to be extinct, and it looked like the ancient family of Percy would die with her. She was the most eligible heiress in England, and as a result the poor girl was married three times before her sixteenth birthday due to the untiring work and manipulations of her dowager Mother.

To understand how the modern duke of Northumberland can tell himself a Percy when the Percy line apparently became extinct in 1670, one must examine with intrigue the complicated series of accidents, designs and machinations involving the descendants of Lady Elizabeth Percy. Elizabeth nicknamed ‘carrots’ due to her red hair was pestered by suitors. Charles II wanted her as a wife for one of his bastard sons, but this time he was unlucky. At the age of twelve, she was made to marry the Earl of Ogle, who died six months later. Her second husband was Thomas Thynne of Longleat, who was murdered by hired assassins in Pall Mall at the behest of another jealous suitor, Count Koningsmark. Twice a widow at the age of sixteen, she finally married in 1682 that preposterous “Proud” Duke of Somerset. It is not even possible to say that she lived happily ever after, since life, as the Duchess of Somerset, the consort of a mad over bearing tyrant, cannot have been pleasant. She died in 1722, and all her Percy estates against the direct wishes of her ancestors somehow became vested in the dukedom of Somerset. Immediately their son Algernon Seymour was created Baron Percy to protect the families’ inheritance.

Algernon married and produced a son and daughter. The son was Lord Beauchamp, heir to the dukedom of Somerset and eventual heir to the Percy properties including Alnwick Castle, would, in the normal course, pass down with the dukedom of Somerset. The daughter was Elizabeth Seymour, who in 1740 made a marriage of significance.

Elizabeth Seymour’s husband was a Yorkshire squire, Sir Hugh Smithson, Bart. She was thereupon known as Lady Betty Smithson, and for her next four years there was no reason to imagine that their status would change as he was no heir to any title. Then in 1744 Lady Betty’s brother Lord Beauchamp suddenly died, an event, which threw all the related families into disarray. It meant the eventual end of that line of Seymours, and it made Lady Betty sole heiress to some of the Seymour estates, and to all the Percy estates of her grandmother. It also made Sir Hugh Smithson a very important man indeed.

The fate of the Seymour’s, the Percy’s and the Smithson’s was settled in a kaleidoscope of events between 1748 and 1750. First, the Proud Duke of Somerset died, and was succeeded as 7th Duke by his son Algernon, Lady Betty’s father. In 1749, the 7th Duke of Somerset was wrongly made 1st Earl of Northumberland of a new creation. He had no legitimate male heirs, so a most unusual stipulation was included in the patent of creation, according to which the title and Percy estates (including Alnwick Castle) should pass at his death to his son in law Smithson, and subsequently to Smithsons heirs by the body of Lady Betty. In 1750 the 7th Duke of Somerset died. The Dukedom passed to a very distant kinsman (ancestor to the present Duke of Somerset), and the new Earldom of Northumberland passed to Sir Hugh Smithson, who promptly assumed the name and arms of Percy by an act of Parliament.

Almost a century had passed since the last Percy Earl of Northumberland had died, well beyond the memory of those alive in 1750. Smithson had married not a Percy, but a Seymour, great grand daughter of the apparently lone male survivor of the last Percy Earl. That he should now become a Percy was altogether an amazing piece of fantastic invention.

The Smithsons were themselves a modest but ancient Yorkshire family. In Domesday Book there is listed a certain Malgrun de Smethton, from whom there is clear descent through to Sir Hugh. But this was little compared to the majesty of Alnwick Castle and the riches that came from the ownership of several thousand acres. Unfortunately the signs are that Smithsons sudden elevation to the highest ranks went straight to his head.

To be Earl of Northumberland was not enough for his vanity, although it had satisfied generations of the real Percys. He was proposed as Lord chamberlain, but the Marquis of Hertford was appointed instead. Northumberland demanded some sort of advancement by way of compensation, and when a Marquessate was suggested, he insisted that he have a Dukedom. The King, George III somehow agreed! So Sir Hugh Smithson became the 1st Duke of Northumberland and Earl Percy in 1766, and Viscount Lovaine of Alnwick in 1784. He is the direct ancestor of the present Duke.

The only inconvenience, which might upset matters, would be the sudden appearance of a genuine Percy heir. They were not wanting but one claimant James Percy, had pressed his rights for twenty years immediately after the death of Josceline the last Earl of Northumberland in 1670. He was a trunk maker and wanted to be an earl so he petitioned the House of Lords. He failed miserably due to the unending and ruthlessley determined dowager Duchess, Elizabeths Mother. James Percy was eventually made to wear a sign around his neck proclaiming him “The impudent pretender to the ancient title of Earldom of Northumberland”. http://www.percyfamilyhistory.com/?page_id=37


"In 1099, the Crusaders conquered Palestine from the Arab Fatimids and received their first view of Jerusalem from the mountain upon which Nabi Samwil is built, thus naming it Mont de Joie; "Mountain of Joy". They soon constructed a fortress there to fend off Muslim raiding of Jerusalem's northern approaches as well as to shelter pilgrim convoys."

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William 1st Baron Percy Aux Gernons's Timeline

probably born at Perci near Villedieu
Perci-En-Auge, Normandy, France
Age 23
Northumberland, England
Age 35
Age 36
Age 37
Whitby, Yorkshire, England
Age 39
Of, Whitby, Yorkshire, England
Age 41
Of, Whitby, Yorkshire, England
Age 62
Mount Joy, near Jerusalem, Palestine