Hodnet’s New Knight

Mr & Mrs Heber-Percy

Mr & Mrs Heber-Percy at Hodnet’s Party in the Park, June 2012

On the 1st January this year, Hodnet gained its first knight since the 1600’s. Two days before his 70th birthday, Algernon Eustace Hugh Heber-Percy, Lord-Lieutenant for Shropshire, became a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. Honours in this Order are given by The Queen to people who have served her or the Monarchy in a personal way. Honours are normally awarded on the advice of government ministers, but on 21 April 1896 Queen Victoria established the Royal Victorian Order as a junior and personal order that allowed her to bestow honours directly for personal services. It is for his work as Lord-Lieutenant in which he acts as the Queen’s representative in the county that Sir Algernon Heber-Percy KCVO has been knighted. His wife has also gained a new title and is now known as the The Honourable Lady Jane Heber-Percy.

Her Majesty the Queen meets Sir Algernon

Picture from Shropshire Star article – click image to read it

The Heber-Percy’s ancestors’ connection with Hodnet started in the 11th century when they built their first home in what is now the parkland around Hodnet Hall. However, the Heber-Percy name did not appear until Algernon Charles Percy, the son of Rt. Rev. Hon. Hugh Percy, married Emily Heber, daughter of Rt. Rev. Reginald Heber, in 1839. Famous ancestors of the Heber-Percys include Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1714-1786) and Algernon Percy, 1st Earl of Beverley (1749-1830). Today’s Sir Algernon, however, is the first knight in the five generations since the Heber-Percy name came into existence.

Mr & Mrs Algernon Heber-Percy in 2011

Picture from Shropshire Life’s ‘Profile of Lord Lieutenant Algernon Heber-Percy’ – click image to read it

Records show two people by the name of Sir John Ludlow as being the earliest knights living in Hodnet and this was during the 15th century. The first was born around 1450 and was the son of Sir Richard Ludlow of Stokesay. His son, and the second Sir John was born around 1470. Humphrey Vernon, 3rd son of Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon, married Alice Ludlow heiress of Hodnet, Shropshire and settled here. Their grandson, became Sir John Vernon (1548-1591) possibly on the death of his uncle. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Robert Vernon (1577-1625). His son Sir Henry Vernon (1605–1676) was appointed a Baronet in 1660, which brought to a pause the history of knights in Hodnet. (The Hills of Hawkstone were first appointed Baronets and later Viscounts.) Hodnet remained the property of the Vernon family for 250 years, until it passed to the Hebers in 1725. With the awarding of his present knighthood, Sir Algernon has now brought back the title to the parish.

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