Blessed Thomas Percy

Thomas Percy is one of the ten Blessed Martyrs of Sussex. His father, Sir Thomas Percy, was executed at Tyburn in 1537 for his part in the pilgrimage of grace. Our Thomas Percy rose to prominence in the reign of Queen Mary, but with the accession of Elizabeth a more difficult era for Catholics began. Initially she treated him kindly, but his public position became more difficult and he left public life to live quietly on his estate in Petworth. In 1569 he became involved in the unsuccessful 'Rising in the North', and for his part in this he was executed at York in 1572. He was beatified in 1895. A stained glass window in our church at Petworth depicts him, and there is a portrait of him in Petworth House. Although Petworth has, of course, changed a great deal since he lived here, there is something very powerful about knowing that he walked the streets and the fields where we now walk.