Percy, Henry, 9th Earl of Northumberland (1564 -1632)
Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, known from his fondness for scientific experiment as “The Wizard Earl”, was the eldest son of Henry, 8th Earl, and Katherine eldest daughter and coheir of John Nevill, Lord Latimer. His father had determined for his children “wholly to bring them up in learning”, and whatever his own sympathies with the Catholic cause, they were brought up in the Protestant religion. Henry was in Paris, when his father died in the Tower on 21 June 1585, the verdict of the jury being suicide. He returned to England, living most of the time in London, quarrelled with his mother and was unpopular with his tenants. He served as a volunteer under the Earl of Leicester in the Low Countries, and in the fleet against the Armada. In 1591, he was made Governor of Tynemouth, and a Knight of the Garter 23 April 1593, in 1596 he carried the Order of the Garter to Henri IV of France, and in 1599 he was nominated a General in the Army. In 1595, he married Dorothy, sister of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and widow of Sir John Perrot. In 1600, he went to the Low Countries, and took part in the military operations around Ostend. On the accession of James I, Northumberland was made a Privy Councillor and Captain of the Band of Gentlemen Pensioners. The leading part played by his confidential servant and kinsman Thomas Percy in the Gunpowder Plot compromised him, and he remained in the Tower for sixteen years. At this time his friend Sir Walter Raleigh was also imprisoned there, and their life together was not uninteresting. After his release, on 18 July 1621, he resumed his retired life. He gave £100 to the Bodleian Library, Oxford in 1603 for the purchase of books. On these, 143 in number, the Library had stamps 3 and 4 impressed. Stamps 1 and 2 were also used by his son Algernon, 10th Earl. The Percy library at Petworth House was sold at Sotheby's 23 24 April 1928.