Harry Hotspur Percy
Sir Henry Percy, also called Harry Hotspur
(May 20, 1364/1366 – July 21, 1403)
was the eldest son of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland, 4th Lord Percy of
His mother was Margaret Neville, daughter of Ralph Neville, 2nd Baron Neville de
Raby (c. 1291 - 1367) and Alice de Audley.
His nickname is suggestive of his impulsive nature. His date of birth is known but
not the exact year of birth.
* 1 Early career
* 2 Rebellion and death
* 3 Marriage and children
* 4 Further reading
Harry acquired a great reputation as a warrior, fighting against the Scots and the French.
He fought against the Scottish forces of James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas at the Battle of
Otterburn in August, 1388 and was captured, but later ransomed. He went to Calais in 1391
and served as governor of Bordeaux from 1393 to 1395.
After his return from Valois Dynasty France, Harry joined with his father and helped depose
King Richard II in favour of Henry of Bolingbroke, who later became King Henry IV.
Rebellion and death
Later with his paternal uncle Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, he led a rebellion against
Henry IV in 1403, forming an alliance with the Welsh rebel, Owain Glyndŵr. Before they
could join forces, Hotspur was defeated and killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury when he
raised his visor to get some air (as he was wearing plate armour which restricted air
circulation) and was immediately hit in the mouth with an arrow and killed instantly.
Henry IV, upon being brought the body, was said to have wept and ordered the body buried. He
was buried in Whitchurch, Shropshire, but the king then decided to make an example to all
those who would rebel; His body was exhumed, cut up into four quarters and sent around all
of England. His head was stuck on a pole at York's gates. He is a major character in William
Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, though in the play he is portrayed as being of the same age
as his main rival Prince Hal (Henry V of England), when in fact Hotspur was considerably
Marriage and children
He married Lady Elizabeth de Mortimer, daughter of Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March and
Philippa. Philippa was daughter of Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence and Elizabeth de
Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster. Lionel was son of Edward III of England and his consort
Philippa of Hainault.
Harry and Elizabeth had three children:
* Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland (3 February 1392/1393 – 22 May 1455).
* Lady Elizabeth Percy (d. 26 October 1437). She married Thomas Clifford, 8th Lord
Clifford in 1404. They were great-great-grandparents of Jane Seymour, third Queen consort of
Henry VIII of England.
* Matilda Percy. Believed to have died young.
* Rose, Alexander: Kings in the North - The House of Percy in British History.
Phoenix/Orion Books Ltd, 2002, ISBN 1-84212-485-4 (722 pages paperback)
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The Percy family
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