Percy Cross Rigg

These posts often result from a faint memory which I then spend an hour or so trying to verify or research further in the evening — it beats watching ‘Strictly …’. But then, every so often, I plunge head first down a rabbit hole after I’ve pressed the post button. Yesterday was a case in point.

I have known for some time that there were distant family ties between the Percys of Kildale and the Percys of Northumberland, but that these ties had been lost in history so was a little confused by yesterday’s assertion that Sir Thomas Percy, Lord of the Manor of Kildale, was the brother of the Earl of Northumberland. It turned out that Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, did indeed buy the manor of his namesake in the 16th-century.

William de Percy arrived in England in 1067, and by the time of the Domesday Book, he is recorded as holding 30 ‘knight’s fees‘ and was ‘tenant-in-chief‘ in 118 manors. Even allowing for some overlap between these two different land holdings, it was considerable, so he must have been on very good terms with William the Conquerer. (But, of course, these lands were scattered around the country — the King avoided concentrating power).

William de Percy’s descendent lineage can be traced to today’s Duke of Northumberland — although there was a couple of hiccups in the male progeny where the name ‘Percy’ had to be maintained by adoption.

An early record of the Kildale Percys is when Arnald de Percy witnessed William de Percy’s foundation charter to Whitby Abbey in 10781Wikipedia Contributors (2021). Whitby. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitby#Abbey [Accessed 20 Oct. 2021].. There are other examples, so it seems likely that a close family tie must have existed.

Fast forward now to the start of the 16th-century when the Lord of the Manor of Kildale was John Percy. He died in 1501 and there is some uncertainty as to his heir. No record of a sale survives, but there is a “family tradition” that it was his four grand-daughters, Isabel, Joan, Alice, and Elizabeth, who sold the manor to Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, in around 1503.

So Kildale ended up as part of the Earldom of Northumberland until it was sold to John Turner, of Kirkleatham in about 1662.

Today’s featured image is Percy Cross Rigg along which is the ancient road south known as Ernaldsti2“The North York Moors Landscape Heritage”. Edited by D.A.Spratt and B.J.D.Harrison. David & Charles. 1989. ISBN 0 7153 93472.. It is well-known for being named after Ernald de Percy, Lord of Kildale and is mentioned in the foundation charter for Guisborough Priory of around 1120. This begs the question: are Arnald and Ernald different spellings of the same name? The cross itself is first mentioned in a charter of 1231 as marking the southern tip of the monastic land of Guisborough Priory with its boundary with the lands belonging to the Percys of Kildale3“Guisborough Before 1900”. Edited by B.J.D. Harrison and G. Dixon. page 72. 1982. ISBN 0 9507827 0 X.. Only the base of the cross remains.

General source: “A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2”. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923. Parishes: Kildale | British History Online. [online] Available at: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/north/vol2/pp249-253#h3-0002 [Accessed 20 Oct. 2021].

  • 1
    Wikipedia Contributors (2021). Whitby. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitby#Abbey [Accessed 20 Oct. 2021].
  • 2
    “The North York Moors Landscape Heritage”. Edited by D.A.Spratt and B.J.D.Harrison. David & Charles. 1989. ISBN 0 7153 93472.
  • 3
    “Guisborough Before 1900”. Edited by B.J.D. Harrison and G. Dixon. page 72. 1982. ISBN 0 9507827 0 X.

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