Arms of the Duke of Northumberland
A New Zealand representative of the Percy family is attempting to claim the earldom and estates of the ancient Percy family of Northumberland on the basis of a supposititious descent from a male-line overlooked at the time of the death of Josceline the 7th Earl in 1670.
No male heir was discovered at that time, and the Percy estates went to his only daughter, Lady Elizabeth, who married three times, becoming by her last marriage Duchess of Somerset.
Her granddaughter, also an Elizabeth, married Sir Hugh Smithson in 1740, causing him to inherit the Earldom of Northumberland upon her father’s death. Smithson obligingly changed his name to Percy, and received the extinct title of Duke of Northumberland via a third creation in 1766.
Kevin Percy of Napier, New Zealand believes that the commonality of the personal name Thomas, Edward, and Francis between his own (formerly) Pursey family and that of Thomas Percy, great grandson of the 4th earl of Northumberland and one of the principals of the Gunpowder Plot suggests the identity of his own ancestry with one of the cadet lines of the famous Percys of Northumberland.
All of this is explained at a web-page devoted to the Percy family of New Zealand and its genealogical theories.
Mr. Percy hopes that DNA testing of exhumed Percy bodies will be able to prove his own descent from the Gunpowder Plotter and confirm his own theories making him rightful heir to the Percy family titles and estates.
As the Dominion Post (Wellington, N.Z.) reports, were he to be successful, the rewards would be awfully good.
A Napier antiques dealer has claimed that his family are the rightful heirs to one of Britain’s most famous dynasties, which owns the castle used in the Harry Potter movies.
Kevin Percy, 74, believes his family was cheated out of inheriting the Earl of Northumberland’s massive estate, now conservatively valued at $685m.
He has started a bold bid asking British authorities, including the Queen, to exhume the bodies of two suspected relatives for DNA tests, which he says would prove or disprove his claim. The two men died in 1560 and 1716.
His bid targets one of Britain’s most celebrated noble families, which dominated the Middle Ages. The earldom owns nearly 50,000 hectares of land in Britain.