(C. Northumberland)

Born: 1538

Died: 8 Sep 1591 / 17 Oct 1596, Namur

Father: Henry SOMERSET (2º E. Worcester)

Mother: Elizabeth BROWNE (C. Worcester)

Married: Thomas PERCY (7º E. Northumberland) 12 Jun 1558


1. Elizabeth PERCY

2. Thomas PERCY (b. 1560 - d. 1560)

3. Lucy PERCY

4. Joan PERCY

5. Mary PERCY

Daughter of Henry Somerset, second Earl of Worcester and Elizabeth Browne. Her brother, William, was the third Earl of Worcester. On 22 Jun 1558, she married Thomas Percy, 7° Earl of Northumberland.

In 1569, Anne was one of the main stirrers of the Northern Rebellion, together with Jane Howard, Countess of Westmorland. Her husband was hesitant, but when, in the dead of night, his servants came to tell him that his enemies were surrounding him, the Earl and Countess fled to Brancepeth, Westmoreland’s house, and from there began their uprising against Queen Elizabeth.

Lord Hunsdon, at the head of the Queen’s troops, reported that Lady Northumberland was “stouter” than her husband and rode “up and down with the army”. When the rebellion failed, Northumberland sought refuge with Hector Graham, a borderlands robber, but Graham betrayed Northumberland to the Earl of Moray.

Anne was pregnant during the uprising. She gave birth on 11 Jun 1570 in Old Aberdeen, Scotland. On 23 Aug, she and her baby fled to the Continent, arriving in Bruges on 31 Aug 1570. Anne hoped to raise enough money to ransom her husband. She persuaded both King Felipe II and the Pope to contribute to her cause, but her effort was in vain. Elizabeth outbid her, took charge of the prisoner, and executed him. Anne spent the rest of her life in exile.

There is some mystery about her youngest child. Genealogical research on the Belgian family of Percy or Persy indicates that although the baby was given the name Maria, no sex was recorded, and argues that the child was a boy, subsequently called John Percy. A second John Percy shows up in records in Brussels in 1620, claiming to the the son of 'Jean Piercy', son of Thomas, Earl of Northumberland, who came to Flanders with his mother. This claim was apparently recognized by Spanish authorities. Although some English genealogists over the years have identified the child born in 1570 with the Mary Percy who founded a convent in Brussels, her epitaph there clearly states that she was 'in England for a long time' before she first came to the Netherlands. Other sources say that this Mary was eighty at the time of her death in 1643, which would be consistent with a 1563 birth date.

Anne Somerset's daughters had to be abandoned in England when the rebellion failed. Two of them were found at Wressel, the family seat, in a pitiful state, nearly frozen, half starved, and terrified. The servants with whom they’d been left had been murdered and the house ransacked. Their uncle, Henry Percy, who subsequently was granted their father's title, took his brother's daughters into his own household and they were raised at Petworth.

Meanwhile, their mother was at Liège, living on a pension from Felipe II. There she wrote “Discours des troubles du Comte de Northumberland” and involved herself in Catholic plots. She spent the next decade moving from place to place in the Spanish Netherlands, staying in contact with other exiles. She was living at Malines in 1572, in Mechlin in 1573, in Brussels in 1574 and again in 1576, and was back in Liège in 1575. In 1576 she was briefly expelled from the territory in an attempt to placate Queen Elizabeth, but she returned almost immediately.

In Sep 1591, Charles Paget, an English exile in Antwerp, wrote to the Percy family in London to say that Anne had died and to request that her youngest daughter, Jane, come to Flanders to claim her mother's belongings. This appears to have been a ruse to allow Jane to visit her mother. Anne died of smallpox while living in the convent at Namur, but not until five years later.
to Bios Page

 to Family Page

to Peerage Page to Home Page