1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Darcy, Thomas Darcy, Baron

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DARCY, THOMAS DARCY, Baron (1467–1537), English soldier, was a son of Sir William Darcy (d. 1488), and belonged to a family which was seated at Templehurst in Yorkshire. In early life he served, both as a soldier and a diplomatist, in Scotland and on the Scottish borders, where he was captain of Berwick; and in 1505, having been created Baron Darcy, he was made warden of the east marches towards Scotland. In 1511 Darcy led some troops to Spain to help Ferdinand and Isabella against the Moors, but he returned almost at once to England, and was with Henry VIII. on his French campaign two years later. One of the most influential noblemen in the north of England, where he held several important offices, Darcy was also a member of the royal council, dividing his time between state duties in London and a more active life in the north. He showed great zeal in preparing accusations against his former friend, Cardinal Wolsey; however, after the cardinal’s fall his words and actions caused him to be suspected by Henry VIII. Disliking the separation from Rome, Darcy asserted that matrimonial cases were matters for the decision of the spiritual power, and he was soon communicating with Eustace Chapuys, the ambassador of the emperor Charles V., about an invasion of England in the interests of the Roman Catholics. Detained in London against his will by the king, he was not allowed to return to Yorkshire until late in 1535, and about a year after his arrival in the north the rising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace broke out. For a short time Darcy defended Pontefract Castle against the rebels, but soon he surrendered to them this stronghold, which he could certainly have held a little longer, and was with them at Doncaster, being regarded as one of their leaders. Upon the dispersal of the insurgents Darcy was pardoned, but he pleaded illness when Henry requested him to proceed to London. He may have assisted to suppress the rising which was renewed under Sir Francis Bigod early in 1537, but the king believed, probably with good reason, that he was guilty of fresh treasons, and he was seized and hurried to London. During his imprisonment he uttered his famous remark about Thomas Cromwell:—“Cromwell, it is thou that art the very original and chief causer of all this rebellion and mischief, ... and I trust that or thou die, though thou wouldst procure all the noblemen’s heads within the realm to be stricken off, yet shall there one head remain that shall strike off thy head.” Tried by his peers, Darcy was found guilty of treason, and was beheaded on the 20th of June 1537. In 1548 his barony was revived in favour of his son George (d. 1557), but it became extinct on the death of George’s descendant John in 1635.