Percy, Thomas, Lord Egremont

(1422–1460)
   By his ruthless pursuit of the NEVILLEPERCY FEUD in the mid-1450s, Thomas Percy, Lord Egremont, contributed significantly to the creation of the political factions that fueled the WARS OF THE ROSES. The second son of Henry PERCY, second earl of Northumberland, Percy showed an early aptitude for troublemaking; in 1447, he and a band of confederates were thrown into York jail for disorderly conduct. The next year, during the war with SCOTLAND, Percy defended the family’s estates in Cumberland. In 1449, after being created Lord Egremont, Percy began raising a band of armed RETAINERS in Yorkshire and northwestern England, areas dominated by the NEVILLE FAMILY. Motivated perhaps by a dispute over the conduct of the Scottish war, or by a dispute over land, Egremont began to threaten Neville tenants and property. In June 1453, HENRY VI summoned Egremont to COURT, intending to commission him for service in FRANCE, a proposal probably initiated by Richard NEVILLE, earl of Salisbury, as a way to remove Egremont from northern England. When Egremont ignored the royal command, John NEVILLE, one of Salisbury’s younger sons, set out in pursuit of Egremont, an action that instigated a series of violent clashes across northern England between the sons and followers of Salisbury and Northumberland. In August 1453, at the so-called Battle of HEWORTH, Egremont and a large following attacked a Neville wedding party led by Salisbury himself. In 1454, during the FIRST PROTECTORATE of Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, Egremont, working in concert with Henry HOLLAND, duke of Exeter, caused great disorder in Yorkshire, forcing York to intervene. Exeter was captured and imprisoned in July, but Egremont remained free until October, when he was defeated and captured by Salisbury’s sons at the Battle of STAMFORD BRIDGE. During Egremont’s subsequent two-year imprisonment in LONDON, his father was slain by York and the Nevilles at the Battle of ST. ALBANS and his elder brother, Henry PERCY, now third earl of Northumberland, closely allied the Percies with the house of LANCASTER.
   Upon his escape from prison in November 1456, Egremont resumed his harassment of the Nevilles. In March 1458, he became part of the king’s LOVE-DAY reconciliation, being required by the settlement to give bonds to keep the peace for ten years. However, on the outbreak of civil war in 1459, Egremont took up arms for Henry VI and died defending the king at the Battle of NORTHAMPTON in July 1460. Because he was one of an unusually high number of Lancastrian lords to be slain at Northampton, it is probable that, like his father at St. Albans, he was specifically targeted for death by the Yorkist leaders.
   See also North of England and the Wars of the Roses; all entries under Percy
   Further Reading: Griffiths, Ralph A.,“Local Rivalries and National Politics: The Percies, the Nevilles and the Duke of Exeter, 1452–1455,” in Ralph A. Griffiths, ed., King and Country: England and Wales in the Fifteenth Century (London: Hambledon Press, 1991), pp. 321–364; Griffiths, Ralph A., The Reign of King Henry VI (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); Storey,R. L., The End of the House of Lancaster, 2d ed. (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1999).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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