Percy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Percy reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Percy family lived in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. They claim the same ancestry as Tesson and Marmion in Normandy, both relatively rare names today. One of the oldest records was Ralph Tesson who was found in Anjou in the 10th century. He acquired a barony in Normandy and founded the abbey of Fontenay. From this House, descended the Marmions, of whom William Marmilon on Fontenay (a Tesson estate) was listed. It is generally thought that the Percys probably derive from Ernegis Tesson. [1] "The arms of these families show their common origin." All bear a fesse with the Percys having a fesse indented. [1]

Early Origins of the Percy family

The surname Percy was first found in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire where "William de Perci, who with his brother Serlo, assisted in the Conquest of England, appears in the Domesday [Book] as tenant in capite in many counties, especially in those of York and Lincoln.

Perci is the name of a parish and canton near St. Lo, in Normandy, the ancient fief on the family." [2] Sawley in the West Riding of Yorkshire was an early home to the family. "It belonged to a Cistercian abbey in honour of the Blessed Virgin, founded here in 1146, by William de Percy, and the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was estimated at £221." [3]

Thirsk in the North Riding of Yorkshire was home to another branch of the family. "In the reign of Henry VII., during a popular commotion, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and lieutenant of this county, is said to have been put to death here, beneath a very ancient elm-tree, which formerly grew on Elm Green." [3]

Again in North Yorkshire, more early records of the family were found in the parish of Lofthouse. "This place, in the Domesday Survey Lochtushum, was granted by the Conqueror to Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, who soon afterwards transferred it to the Percy family, of whom William de Percy, the third Baron, in 1133 founded at Handall, in the parish, a priory for Benedictine nuns." [3]

And yet another branch of the family was found in Wressel in the East Riding of Yorkshire. "Wressel Castle was built by Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, who was made prisoner at the battle of Shrewsbury, and afterwards beheaded; this once princely mansion continued to be a seat of the family till the reign of Charles I., when it was dismantled by order of the parliament." [3]

Early History of the Percy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Percy research. Another 378 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1403, 1364, 1403, 1403, 1343, 1403, 1560, 1560, 1605, 1341, 1408, 1362, 1367, 1564, 1632, 1586, 1631, 1602, 1668, 1646, 1690, 1667 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Percy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Percy Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Percy include Percy, Percie and others.

Early Notables of the Percy family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Henry Percy (1364-1403), commonly known as Sir Harry Hotspur, slain leading the losing side at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403; and Thomas Percy, 1st Earl of Worcester, (1343-1403), English medieval nobleman best known for taking part in the rebellion with his nephew Henry Percy, known as 'Harry Hotspur', with his elder brother, Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland Alan Percy (died 1560), was Master of St. John's College, Cambridge, third son of Henry Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland. Thomas Percy (c.1560-1605), was a member of the Gunpowder Plot. Henry Percy, 1st Earl...
Another 125 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Percy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Percy migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Percys to arrive on North American shores:

Percy Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Abraham Percy, who arrived in Virginia in 1616 [4]
  • George Percy, who landed in Virginia in 1632 [4]
  • Edward Percy, who arrived in Virginia in 1633 [4]
  • Robert Percy, who settled in Virginia in 1634
  • Annis Percy, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Percy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Percy, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [4]
  • Francis Percy, who arrived in Georgia in 1735 [4]
Percy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Barnd Elliott Percy, aged 26, who arrived in South Carolina in 1812 [4]
  • Thomas Percy, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]

Canada Percy migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Percy Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James Percy U.E. who settled in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [5]
  • Mr. John Percy U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [5]
  • Mr. John Percy U.E., (Perry) who settled in Ernest Town [Ernestown], Lennox & Addington, Ontario c. 1784 [5]
Percy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Charles Percy, who landed in Canada in 1841

Australia Percy migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Percy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Percy, (b. 1807), aged 34, Irish shepherd from County Monaghan, Ireland departing on 8th July 1841 from Greenock, Scotland aboard the ship "New York Packet" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 23rd October 1841 [6]
  • Mrs. Catharine Percy, (b. 1809), aged 32, Irish servant from County Monaghan, Ireland departing on 8th July 1841 from Greenock, Scotland aboard the ship "New York Packet" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 23rd October 1841 [7]
  • Mr. James Percy, (b. 1827), aged 14, Irish settler from County Monaghan, Ireland departing on 8th July 1841 from Greenock, Scotland aboard the ship "New York Packet" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 23rd October 1841 [8]
  • Miss Catharine Percy, (b. 1829), aged 12, Irish settler from County Monaghan, Ireland departing on 8th July 1841 from Greenock, Scotland aboard the ship "New York Packet" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 23rd October 1841 [9]
  • Miss Agnes Percy, (b. 1832), aged 9, Irish settler from County Monaghan, Ireland departing on 8th July 1841 from Greenock, Scotland aboard the ship "New York Packet" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 23rd October 1841 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Percy migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Percy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Hewlett Percy, aged 40, a carpenter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Esther Percy, aged 39, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Joseph Henry Percy, aged 19, a carpenter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Percy, aged 16, a dressmaker, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Henry James Percy, aged 7, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Percy (post 1700) +

  • Hugh Earl Percy (1742-1817), Duke of Northumberland and Brigadier General in the Battle of Lexington and Concord in the American Revolutionary War
  • Charles Harting "Chuck" Percy (b. 1919), American Chairman of the Bell & Howell Corporation from 1949 to 1964 and United States Senator from Illinois from 1967 to 1985
  • William Alexander Percy (1885-1942), American poet and writer
  • LeRoy Percy (1860-1929), United States Senator from Mississippi from 1910 to 1913
  • Le Roy Percy (1860-1929), American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Mississippi, 1892; U.S. Senator from Mississippi, 1910-13 [11]
  • John A. Percy, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1924 [11]
  • George R. Percy, American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates from Dorchester County, 1906 [11]
  • George Percy, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Monroe, Michigan, 1933 [11]
  • George Percy, American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates from Allegany County, 1870 [11]
  • Charles Harting Percy (1919-2011), American Republican politician, Candidate for Governor of Illinois, 1964; U.S. Senator from Illinois, 1967-85; Defeated, 1984 [11]
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Flight TWA 800
  • Mrs. Marion Percy (1919-1996), from New York, USA, American passenger flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; she died in the crash [12]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • James Leslie Percy, British Lieutenant aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he survived the sinking [13]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Kenneth Barrington Percy (1922-1939), born in Southampton, England, British Boy 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [14]


The Percy Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Esperance en Dieu
Motto Translation: Hope in God.


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  6. ^ Ship Voyages to New South Wales (Retrieved 18th November 2020). Retrieved from http://indexes.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.aspx?Page=NRS5316/4_4782/New%20York%20Packet_23%20Oct%201841/4_478200095.jpg&No=155
  7. ^ Ship Voyages to New South Wales (Retrieved 18th November 2020). Retrieved from http://indexes.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.aspx?Page=NRS5316/4_4782/New%20York%20Packet_23%20Oct%201841/4_478200095.jpg&No=156
  8. ^ Ship Voyages to New South Wales (Retrieved 18th November 2020). Retrieved from http://indexes.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.aspx?Page=NRS5316/4_4782/New%20York%20Packet_23%20Oct%201841/4_478200095.jpg&No=157
  9. ^ Ship Voyages to New South Wales (Retrieved 18th November 2020). Retrieved from http://indexes.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.aspx?Page=NRS5316/4_4782/New%20York%20Packet_23%20Oct%201841/4_478200095.jpg&No=158
  10. ^ Ship Voyages to New South Wales (Retrieved 18th November 2020). Retrieved from http://indexes.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.aspx?Page=NRS5316/4_4782/New%20York%20Packet_23%20Oct%201841/4_478200095.jpg&No=159
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ The Washington Post Passenger List TWA Flight 800. (Retrieved 2018, February 15th). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/twa800/list01.htm
  13. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  14. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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