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Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland - From Wikipedia

Ralph George Algernon Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland DL (born November 16, 1956), is a British peer.

He was born the son of Hugh Percy, 10th Duke of Northumberland and Lady Elizabeth Montagu-Douglas-Scott. In 1979, he married Isobel Jane Richard, and with her has had four children:


* Lady Catherine Sarah Percy (b. 23 June 1982)
* George Dominic Percy, Earl Percy (b. 4 May 1984)
* Lady Melissa Jane Percy (b. 20 May 1987)
* Lord Max Ralph Percy (b. 26 May 1990)

He ranked 163rd in the Sunday Times Rich List 2005, with an estimated wealth of £300 million. His wife has recently created a large ornamental garden - The Alnwick Garden - at the family seat, Alnwick Castle, partly funded by the National Lottery and other charitable bodies.

On 12 May 2009 his wife was appointed the new Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland.




The castle, the lottery cash and the angry farmers - Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland

Duke who sold Madonna of the Pinks is in dispute with tenants over rents

* Peter Hetherington
* The Guardian, Saturday 26 July 2003 10.50 BST

In the farm kitchen barely a mile from Alnwick Castle, home of a collection of paintings second only to the royal family's artistic fortune, Dick Thompson has few kind words for the landowner behind the big gates down the hill.

"They are bleeding us all dry with these rents," he said, "but I am just the little fellow that gets trampled on."

Since 1958, the 500 acres of Broomhouse farm, devoted largely to cereals and cattle, have provided Dick Thompson with a reasonable living - albeit extremely modest compared with the fortune of his neighbour and landlord, Ralph George Algernon Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland.

As one of Britain's richest landowners, he effectively owns 130,200 acres through the family firm: a big chunk of Northumberland, sizeable parcels in Berwickshire and Surrey, and Syon House, an Elizabethan mansion and small estate in west London.

The family wealth - including Canalettos, Van Dycks, Tintorettos, the odd Titian and Turner and, of course, Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks - is estimated at around £250m. The duke has been at the centre of controversy this week over the proposed use of £11.5m of lottery money to help buy his Raphael for the National Gallery, where it has been on loan, after the Getty Museum in California offered him £35m for it.

But closer to home, his family firm, Northumberland Estates, is embroiled in a more feudal dispute over attempts to obtain the biggest return from its most valuable asset - land. For the past three years, tenants have been pitched against landlord in a series of rare arbitration hearings to determine rent levels for farmers, like Dick Thompson, who complain they are being pushed to the limit by Northumberland Estates.

The company strongly denies this charge. It says it regrets taking tenant farmers to arbitration but was "left with no other way to resolve this".

Like many of the 160 tenants, Mr Thompson said he could stomach a 40% increase in rent seven years ago, pushing up his annual payment to the duke to around £28,000. Farming incomes were high and, he insists, the landlord's agent promised a reduction if prices for livestock and grain began falling.

But when prices dropped substantially three years ago, tenants claim the estate did not take kindly to their asking for a reduction. In a feudal county, where the roles of master and servant are clearly defined and tenants rarely speak out of turn, this was a brave step. Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland

Unusually, the estate used the law to take the issue to a lengthy arbitration procedure, where an independent agent tries to reach an accommodation between the two sides. One official has accused the estate of using the process to intimidate the tenants.

George Dunn, chief executive of the Tenant Farmers' Association (TFA), said 12 tenants were initially involved. Although some cases have been settled, one dissatisfied farmer is taking the issue to county court, while two are still awaiting arbitration, and two more could follow suit.

Under pressure, Northumberland Estates has agreed to reduce all rents by 10%, although some tenants are still dissatisfied. The final legal bill could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. "You can see why they want to sell a Raphael with costs rising like this," said one source close to the negotiations. Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland

The TFA, well used to dealing with the landed aristocracy, has found the wrangling deeply disturbing. "It is very un usual to have a dispute on this scale on an estate run by an old moneyed landlord," said Mr Dunn. "There has been an amount of rancour on the estate for the past two or three years ... there is still a large degree of mistrust."

According to Mr Dunn, however, there are signs that the estate is now trying to establish a better relationship with its tenants. The duke apparently became so concerned several months ago that he asked his agent, Rory Wilson, to meet the TFA chief executive in London. "He wanted to discuss how things could progress in the future ... to talk about where we go next," said Mr Dunn.

"There is still a lot of hurt and disenchantment, and - I use my words advisedly - there are some very small green shoots of a possible attempt by the estate to find a better way forward, but a lot of work still has to be done."

At the castle, which has been in the family since 1309, the duke has had other things on his mind recently - like fending off criticism over sale of the Raphael. It was only discovered to be something special among the rest of the paintings by the National Gallery a few years ago.

"I was quite surprised by some of the press comments," the duke admitted recently. "I think some of the art world is very blinkered and can't see the wider picture. Our decision has to be what's best overall - whether to keep something like this, or sell it and use the proceeds to restore other pieces in the collection and maintain the castle itself ... It boils down to what's more important - maintaining this place, or that painting."

Four panels depicting the story of Harry Hotspur, which hang alongside Van Dycks and Canalettos, had recently been cleaned. How many Van Dycks? "God, I should know," the duke told a local magazine recently. "Um, there are two main ones and one or two others. And there are some wonderful Canalettos. Eight that I can think of. And there are one or two Titians and a Poussain."

The duke's advisers insist that, unlike other landowners, he is committed to developing the enterprise and making its assets work more effectively. Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland

"Other places sell things off and they end up without an economic base to maintain the central core," one said. "We are here for the long-term. We want to keep it going for a few more hundred years if we can."

The company has denied it has been heavy-handed over rents, adding that the duke was keen to maintain a thriving farming industry and to act fairly.

Around Alnwick, however, the dispute has, according to some locals, left a sour taste in many mouths. "Greedy, that's the only word for it," said a prominent local. "Relationships have taken a nose dive over the past year or so."

At Broomhouse farm, Mr Thompson insists he just wants to keep farming, free of the deference of the past. "I am against all this 'lord this, and lord that'," he said. "It is out of date this century."




House of Percy - Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland

The House of Percy (also Perci) were the most powerful noble family in Northern England for much of the Middle Ages, having gained the title Baron Percy already in 1066. The name derives from the village of Percy-en-Auge in Normandy, the initial home of the family prior to the Norman Conquest. Members have held the titles of Earl of Northumberland or Duke of Northumberland to this day. Prominent members of the family include:
*Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland (1341–1408) (forfeit 1405)
*Sir Henry Percy, also called Harry Hotspur
*Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland (1394–1455)
*Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland (1421–1461) (forfeit 1461)
*Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland (1449–1489) (restored 1470)
*Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland (1478–1527)
*Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland (1502–1537)
*Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland (1528–1572) (forfeit 1571; restored 1572)
*Henry Percy, 2nd/8th Earl of Northumberland (1532–1585)
*Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland (1564–1632)
*Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland (1602–1668)
*Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland (1644–1670)
*Hugh Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland (1714–1786) (became Duke of Northumberland in 1766)
*Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1714–1786)
*Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland (1742–1817)
*Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland (1785–1847)
*Algernon Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland (1792–1865)
*George Percy, 5th Duke of Northumberland (1778–1867)
*Algernon George Percy, 6th Duke of Northumberland (1810–1899)
*Henry George Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland (1846–1918)
*Alan Ian Percy, 8th Duke of Northumberland (1880–1930)
*Henry George Alan Percy, 9th Duke of Northumberland (1912–1940)
*Hugh Algernon Percy, 10th Duke of Northumberland (1914–1988)
*Henry Alan Walter Richard Percy, 11th Duke of Northumberland (1953–1995)
*Ralph George Algernon Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland (b. 1956)
*George Dominic Percy, Earl Percy (b. May 4 1984)

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Magical times at Harry Potter castle | Herald Sun


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