Historic Percy family manuscript up for auction

A manuscript dating back more than 400 years has been found to mark a troubled period in the history of Northumberland’s Percy family.

The 1606 manuscript album is for sale on Wednesday (July 19) by Newcastle auctioneers Anderson and Garland, with an initial estimate of £450-£750.

It contains hand-drawn and coloured illustrations of the heraldic arms of the nobility of England from the Norman Conquest to the 17th Century.

But examination of the album showed that the shields and arms of Thomas Percy are upside down.

This is believed to represent dishonourable behaviour.



Christopher Hunwick, Northumberland Estates archivist, said: “I believe that the inverted Percy arms relate to Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland, executed in 1572 for treason against Queen Elizabeth I for his part in the Rising of the Northern Earls in 1569.

“There is a tradition about inverted shields but I have not come across an example before. It’s a historically important document.”

The rebellion aimed to restore the Catholic faith and put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne.

Thomas Percy, the 7th Earl of Northumberland, was a devout Catholic and took part in the 1569 rebellion against Elizabeth I
After the failure of the rebellion, Thomas was beheaded at York.




“This is a wonderful find from a private library in the Alston area. It is a high quality piece of historical significance,” said Anderson & Garland director Fred Wyrley-Birch.

It had been thought that the inverted shield related to another Thomas Percy, who was the cousin of the 9th Earl of Northumberland.

He was appointed as Constable of Alnwick Castle and commissioner and auditor to the 9th Earl, who spent most of his time at his southern properties.

Thomas became involved in the 1605 Gunpowder Plot to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarchy.

After the plot was uncovered, Thomas was shot and killed. The 9th Earl was charged with having knowledge of treason but failing to disclose it and was held for 16 years in the Tower of London.

The manuscript album is by William Camden, English antiquarian and herald and the author of the History of Queen Elizabeth’s Reign He died in 1623.

Credit: Tony Henderson for Cultured North East
Artical link : Historic Percy family manuscript up for auction - Cultured Northeast



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