Research for our latest fragrance resulted in an unexpected dive into the history of one of England's most famous Knights, Henry Percy, or Harry Hotspur as he was better known.
Henry "Harry" Percy, born in May 1364, was the eldest son of the 1st Earl of Northumberland. Harry was knighted by King Edward III at just 12 years old, joining active service at the age of 14 in the Siege of Berwick.
By the age of 21 Harry was appointed Warden of the North March by King Richard II and they marched together into Scotland. He soon got a reputation for his rapid advance and readiness to attack so the Scots named him 'Hatspore' and from then on Henry Percy become Harry Hotspur. Hotspur went on to build on his reputation, his military success and diplomatic efforts were rewarded with substantial marks of Royal favour in the form of grants and appointments.
Things changed in 1399, and despite the relationship between Hotspur and King Richard, Hotspur and family gave support to the rebellion of Henry Bolingbroke, Richards cousin. Hotspur and his father marched south with Bolingbroke to overthrow King Richard and Bolingbroke was crowned King Henry IV. In recognition of their loyalty Hotspur and his father were rewarded with lands and offices.
In the summer of 1388 Scotland invaded England and Sir Harry and his brother Sir Ralph were sent to defend the border. In a battle at the walls of Newcastle the Earl of Douglas took Hotspur's pennon (small flag) and retreated to Otterburn threatening to hang the pennon to the walls of Dalkeith castle. Hotspur, determined to retrieve his pennon, led the English troops to Otterburn against Douglas in the battle of Otterburn. The Earl of douglas was killed in the battle and Hotspur and Sir Ralph were captured by the Scots, later being ransomed for 7,000 marks.
Hotspur returned home, was married, and produced two children, Henry and Elizabeth Percy. The Percy's relationship with King Henry IV soured when the King failed to pay the Percy's what he owed for their defence of the Scottish border. Things worsened when the King failed to ransom Hotspur's brother-in-law, Sir Edmund Mortimer (who had been captured by the Welsh) due to King Henry's concern that Mortimer's claim to the throne was superior to his.
In 1403 the Percy's rose in rebellion against Henry IV. Hotspur, joined by his uncle Thomas Percy, marched to Shrewsbury to meet the Kings forces in battle. Hotspur's father was slow to travel south with his forces so Hotspur and Thomas Percy arrived in Shrewsbury alone where the King waited for them with his army.
The two armies met at Haytely Field, where the Kings army was said to outnumber Hotspur's by 3:1. The battle started with arrows but soon progressed and Hotspur fell while leading a charge, with an arrow to his head. Hotspur's death knocked morale of the rebel force and they soon fled. Although it is said that King Henry IV wept over Hotspur's body in the battle field he had his body quartered and dispatched across the UK with his head on a spike at the gates of York as a warning to potential rebels.
After some time King Henry allowed Hotspur's remains to be returned to his widow and they were buried in York Minister. Hotspur was posthumously declared a traitor and his lands were forfeited to the crown.
Harry Hotspur was strong and brave, and possessed all of the attributes of a great warrior. Our new men's fragrance, in collaboration with Hotspur 1364, must encapsulate all of these qualities and do justice to our Northumbrian heritage. I am sure that you won't be disappointed.