Statue In Alnwick, Northumberland
Statue to Henry Percy, also known as Harry Hotspur, Alnwick's most famous Knight and one of Shakespeare's best known characters.
Henry Percy, a knight so famous he has a pub and football club named after him, as well as featuring in a Shakespeare play. He also has a statue dedicated to him in the middle of Alnwick, the place of his birth.
Henry Percy, or Harry Hotspur as he became commonly known, was born in Alnwick Castle on the 20th May 1364. The eldest son of the 1st Earl of Northumberland, also Henry Percy, and Margaret Neville, grandson of Mary Plantagenet and great grandson of King Edward III, Harry was taught to fight as soon as he could hold a sword. At the age of 10 he actually accompanied his father as a Page on a campaign against the French. Aged 12 he witnessed the bloody fighting between the English and Scots and at 13 years of age he was knighted by the King.
His speed on the battlefield and willingness to attack, saw the nickname “Hotspur” given to him by the Scots who faced him on the battlefield. One of these occasions occurred in 1388 at Berwick, where the Scots had seized the town. The English army laid siege for 9 days and this was only ended when the Northumbrians created a massive furnace under the castle wall causing it to collapse due to the intense heat. Harry Hotspur led the attack through the gap in the wall with his sword held high shouting “Esperance” the Percy family motto.
In spite of the favour show to the Percy family by Henry IV, the King failed to address their grievances which led to the Percy's taking up arms against him and in 1403, in a battle against the King's forces at Shrewsbury, Hotspur was struck in the face with an arrow and died aged 39.
The statue, which was unveiled by the current Duke of Northumberland on 20th August 2010, is made of bronze and stands around 4m high. A cool fact about the statue is that nobody knows what Hotspur looked like as he was always depicted with his visor down, so the face of Earl George Percy, the heir to the current Duke, was used as a model instead.
We will leave the final words to William Shakespeare, after all he is probably able to put it better than me...
“... and by his light did all the chivalry of England move to do brave acts.”
Henry IV, Part II
What three words
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Head south out of the car park on Greenwell Road to come through the buildings to Bondgate Within. turn right to head up the street towards Narrowgate and Pottergate. The statue is on the left in a small area of open space opposite The Dirty Bottles Pub.
Place contributed by Andrew Gardner
I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.
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