Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Percy, Richard de

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PERCY, RICHARD de, fifth Baron Percy (1170?–1244), born about 1170, was second son of Agnes, heiress of the original Percy family, and Josceline de Louvain, a younger son of Godfrey, duke of Brabant, who took his wife's name on his marriage. Richard is said to have taken a prominent part in the vehement opposition of the northern barons to the proposed sale of Northumberland to William the Lion in 1194. In 1196 Percy's elder brother Henry died, leaving a son William (1183?–1245) [q. v.], in his fifteenth year. Percy assumed administration of his nephew's lands and the baronial rights as fifth baron Percy, though the officially appointed guardian of the minor was William Brewer (d. 1226) [q. v.] In the same year his mother Agnes died, and he seized her lands, while he received the lands of his aunt the Countess of Warwick by bequest. After his nephew had attained his majority, Richard retained his property. A long litigation between the two was not concluded till 1234, when it was decided that Richard should hold the moiety of the Percy estates bequeathed to him by the Countess of Warwick, but at his death the whole property was to revert to William.

Percy was one of the northern barons who began the struggle which ended in the signing of Magna Charta by refusing to accompany the king to France in 1213 (Stubbs, i. 580; Rog. Wend. Rolls Ser. ii. 114). On 7 May 1215 he and some others made an attempt to treat with the king (Patent Rolls, 17 John, Record Comm. p. 180); he was one of the twenty-five executors of Magna Charta (Stubbs, i. 582), and he was excommunicated by Innocent III by name on 26 Dec. In 1216 he and other northern barons reduced Yorkshire to the obedience of Louis of France (Rog. Wend. ii. 169, 190). On 11 May 1217 Henry III granted Percy's lands to his nephew William. But they were restored by the king on Percy's submission on 2 Nov. (Close Rolls, Record Comm. i. 308, 339).

Percy helped to besiege Ralph de Gaugi in Newark Castle in 1218 (ib. i. 379 b), and he was one of three barons charged with the destruction of Skipton Castle in 1221 (ib. p. 474). In 1236 he appears among the witnesses of the confirmation of the charters (Annals of Tewkesbury, i. 104). The year after, when in the parliament the barons prepared to deliberate apart on the king's demands, Gilbert Basset suggested to the king that he should send some of his friends to attend the conference. The words caught the ear of Richard de Percy, and he indignantly cried, ‘What did you say, friend Gilbert? Are we foreigners then, and not friends of the king?’ (Matt. Paris, Hist. Maj. iii. 381–2). He died before 18 Aug. 1244 (Excerpta e Rotulis Finium, Record ed. i. 421). The manor of Ludford was left by him to the priory of Sixhills (Rot. Cart. Joh. p. 159 b).

On the death of his first wife, a sister of William Brewer, Percy married Agnes de Neville, by whom he had two sons, Henry and Alexander.

[Besides authorities cited in the text, see De Fonblanque's Annals of the House of Percy, 1887, i. 36 sq. and 482–7 (appendix); Dugdale's Baronage of England, 1675, i. 271; Banks's Dormant and Extinct Baronetage, ii. 415.]

W. E. R.