1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Howard (family)
HOWARD (Family). Among English families, the house of Howard has long held the first place. Its head, the duke of Norfolk, is the first of the dukes and the hereditary earl marshal of England, while the earls of Suffolk, Carlisle and Effingham and the Lord Howard of Glossop represent in the peerage its younger lines.
Its founder was a Norfolk lawyer, William Howard or Haward, who was summoned to parliament as a justice in 1295, being appointed a justice of the common pleas in 1297. Over the parentage of this man genealogists have disputed for centuries. The pedigree-makers have hailed him in turn as the descendant of a Norman “Auber, earl of Passy” and as the heir of Hereward, “the last of the English.” But out of the copies of Norfolk deeds and records collected for Thomas, earl of Arundel, in the early part of the 17th century, it seems clear enough that he sprang from a Norfolk family, several of whose members held lands at Wiggenhall near Lynn. These notes from deeds, evidently collected by an honest inquirer, make no extravagant claims of ancient ancestry or illustrious origin for the Howards, although the facts contained in them were recklessly manipulated by subservient genealogists. Doubtless the judge was the son of John Howard of Wiggenhall, living about 1260, whose widow Lucy, called by the genealogists the daughter of John Germund, was probably the wife of John Germund by her second marriage. William Howard was employed as counsel by the corporation of Lynn, and it is worthy of note that the “crosslets fitchy” in his shield of arms suggest the cross with which the dragon was discomfited by St Margaret, the patroness of Lynn. Prospering by the law, William Howard of Wiggenhall rose to knight’s rank and acquired by purchase Grancourt’s manor in East Winch, near Lynn, where he had his seat in a moated house whose ruins remain. He was probably dead and buried in his chapel at East Winch before November 27, 1308, the date of the patent by which Henry Scrope succeeded him as a commissioner of trailbaston. His two wives, Alice Ufford and Alice Fitton—heir of Fitton’s manor in Wiggenhall—were both daughters of knightly houses. Before his death his eldest son, John Howard, was a knight and already advanced by his marriage with Joan of Cornwall, one of the bastard line founded by Richard of Cornwall, king of the Romans.
Sir John Howard served in Edward II.’s wars in Scotland and Gascony, was sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk and governor of Norwich Castle. When he died in 1331 he was seised of many Norfolk manors. His son and heir, another Sir John, admiral of the king’s navy in the north, was a banneret who displayed his banner in the army that laid siege to Calais. By the admiral’s wife Alice, sister and heir of Sir Robert de Boys, the Howards had the Boys manor of Fersfield, near Diss, which is still among the possessions of the dukes of Norfolk. His son Sir Robert Howard, who had married a daughter of Sir Robert Scales (Lord Scales), died in 1388. From Sir John Howard, the only son of Sir Robert, two branches of the house of Howard spring. The elder line was soon extinct. By his first wife, Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir John Plays, Sir John Howard had a son who died before him, leaving a daughter through whom descended to her issue, the Veres, earls of Oxford, the ancient Norfolk estates of the Howards at East Winch and elsewhere, with the lands of the houses of Scales, Plays and Walton, brought in by the brides of her forefathers. After the death of Margaret Plays, her widower found, with the peculiar instinct of his race, a second well-endowed wife. By her, the heir of the Tendrings of Tendring, he had a second son, Sir Robert Howard, a knight who fought under Henry V. in France, and died, like his half-brother, before the old knight’s career ended in 1436.
It is to the marriage of this young knight that the house of Howard owes the tragedy of its greatness. He was a younger son, although he had some of his mother’s inheritance. Had he married the landless daughter of a neighbour he might have been the ancestor of a line of Essex squires, whose careers would have had the parish topographer for chronicler. But his bride was Margaret Mowbray, daughter of the banished duke of Norfolk. Although this was a noble alliance, it is probable that the lady had no great portion. The head of her elder brother, the boy earl marshal, had been stricken off in the cornfield under the walls of York, but her younger brother’s right to his father’s dukedom was allowed by parliament in 1425.
Sir John Howard, only son of the match between Howard and Mowbray, took service with his cousin the third duke of Norfolk, who had him returned as knight of the shire for Norfolk, where, according to the Paston Letters, this Howard of the Essex branch was regarded by the gentry as a strange man. He followed the White Rose and was knighted at the crowning of King Edward IV., who pricked him for sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk. In the duke’s quarrel he brawled with the Pastons, his wife boasting that, should her husband’s men meet with John Paston “there should go no penny for his life.” “And Howard,” writes Clement Paston, “hath with the king a great fellowship.” Offices and lands came to John Howard by reason of that fellowship. Henry VI., when restored, summoned him to parliament in 1470 as Lord Howard, a summons which may have been meant to lure him to London into Warwick’s power, but he proclaimed the Yorkist sovereign on his return and fought at Barnet and Tewkesbury. When peace was made, Edward summoned him again as a baron and gave him the Garter and the treasurership of his household. After Edward’s burial, at which he bore the king’s banner, Howard, an enemy of the Wydviles, linked his fortunes with those of the duke of Gloucester. At this time came his sudden lifting to the highest rank in the peerage. The last of the dukes of Norfolk had left a child heir, Anne Mowbray, married to the infant duke of York, the younger of the princes doomed by Richard in the Tower. By the death of this little girl, John Howard became one of the coheirs of her illustrious house, which was now represented by the issue of Margaret Mowbray, his mother, and of her sister Isabel, who had married James, Lord Berkeley. A lion’s share of the Mowbray estates, swollen by the great alliances of the house, heir of Breouse and Segrave, and, through Segrave, of Thomas of Brotherton, son of Edward I., fell to Howard, who, by a patent of June 28, 1483, was created duke of Norfolk and earl marshal of England with a remainder to the heirs male of his body. On the same day the lord Berkeley, the other coheir, was made earl of Nottingham. High steward at Richard’s crowning, the duke bore the crown and rode as marshal into Westminster Hall. For the rest of his life he was Richard’s man, and though warned by the famous couplet that “Dykon his master” was bought and sold, “Jack of Norfolk” led the archer vanguard at Bosworth and died in the fight, from which his son the earl of Surrey was carried away a wounded prisoner. An attainder by the first parliament of Henry VII. extinguished the honours of the father with those of the son, who had been created an earl when the lord Howard was raised to the dukedom. Their estates were forfeit.
Thomas Howard, a politic mind, loyal to the powers that be, was released from the Tower of London in 1489, his earldom of Surrey and his Garter restored. Accepting the position in which the Tudor king would have his great nobles, he became the faithful soldier, diplomatist and official of the new power. In his seventieth year, as lieutenant-general of the North, he led the English host on the great day of Flodden, earning a patent of the dukedom of Norfolk, dated 1 February 1513/4, and that strange patent which granted to him and his heirs that they should bear in the midst of the silver bend of their Howard shield a demi-lion stricken in the mouth with an arrow, in the right colours of the arms of the king of Scotland. This augmentation has been interpreted as a golden scocheon with the demi-lion within the Scottish tressure. Thus charged on the silver bend, it makes bad armory and it is worthy of note that, although the grant of it is clearly to the duke and his heirs in fee simple, Howards of all branches descending from the duke bear it in their shields, even though all right to it has long passed from the house to the duke’s heirs general, the Stourtons and Petres.
The victor of Flodden is the common ancestor of all living Howards that can show a descent from the main stock. The second duke, twice married, was father of at least eleven sons and six daughters, the sons including Edward the lord high admiral, killed in boarding Prégent’s galleys at Brest, Edmund the knight marshal of the army at Flodden, and William the first Lord Howard of Effingham. The eldest son, Thomas, succeeded as the third duke of his name, although the second under the patent of 1514. He had fought as captain of the vanguard at Flodden and after the victory was created earl of Surrey. When Richard III. was allying himself with the Howards, Thomas Howard, a boy of eleven, had been betrothed to Anne, daughter of the late King Edward IV., and Henry VII. allowed the marriage with his queen’s sister to take place in 1495. This royal bride died of consumption, leaving no living child, and her husband took in 1513, as his second wife, Elizabeth Stafford, daughter of that duke of Buckingham upon whom the old duke of Norfolk, the tears upon his cheeks, was forced to pass sentence of death. Succeeding his father in 1524, Norfolk was created earl marshal in 1533. An unsuccessful diplomatist, his chief services in arms were the butchery in the north after the Pilgrimage of Grace and the raid into Scotland which ended with the rout of Solway Moss. He left his wife for a mistress, Elizabeth Holland, was in discord with his family, and lived to see his two nieces, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, and his son Surrey, the fiery-tempered poet, go in turn to the block. He himself was attainted and was lying a prisoner in the Tower, doomed to die in the morning, on the night of the death of Henry VIII. He was not released until the accession of Mary, parliament restoring his dukedom on his petition for reversal of the attainder. His grandson Thomas succeeded him in 1554, and in 1556 made the second of those which have given the Howards their high place among the English nobility. The bride was Mary, sole heir in her issue of her father Henry, the last of the Fitzalan earls of Arundel. Her father’s line and the royal Stewards of Scotland sprang from one forefather, Alan, son of Flaald the Breton. The Mowbray match had already brought to the Howards the representation of an elder line of the Fitzalan earls, who sat in the seats of their ancestors, the Aubignys and Warennes, great earls near akin to their sovereigns. And now the younger line, earls of Arundel and Lords Mautravers, were also to have a Howard to represent them. From this time the spreading genealogy of the Howards drew its origins from most of the illustrious names of the houses founded after the Norman Conquest.
The young duchess died in her seventeenth year after giving birth to a son, and the duke took a second wife from a humble stock, newly enriched and honoured, the daughter of Henry VIII.’s subservient chancellor, the Lord Audley of Walden. Within ten years he married a third time, the lady being Elizabeth Leybourne, the widow of Lord Dacre of Gilsland. She survived her marriage but a few months and her husband then obtained the wardship of her Dacre offspring, a son who died young, and three daughters whom the duke, with the true Howard eye for a rich inheritance, gave as brides to three of his sons. After three such good fortunes by marriage Norfolk in his folly looked for a crown with a fourth match, listening to the laird of Lethington when he set forth the scheme by which the duke was to marry a restored queen of Scots and rule Scotland with her who should be recognized as Elizabeth’s successor. Ten months in the Tower under strong suspicion would have warned another man, but Norfolk was unstable and false. After promising fidelity and the abandonment of the Scots marriage scheme, Cecil took him corresponding with Mary and tampering with the Ridolfi plot. He died on Tower Hill in 1572 for an example to the disloyal counties, protesting innocence and repentance, warning his children in a last letter to discredit all “false bruits” that he was a papist.
By his attainder the Norfolk titles were once more forfeited. But Philip Howard, the son and heir, succeeded to the ancient earldom of Arundel in 1580, on the death of his maternal grandfather, while the Lord Lumley, his uncle by marriage, surrendered to him his life interest in the castle and honour of Arundel. The next year an act of parliament restored the earl in blood. After a profligate youth at court, he followed his wife in professing the Roman faith, and in 1585 made an attempt to leave England to seek safety from the penal laws. But his ship was boarded in the Channel and the earl, condemned by the Star-Chamber to a heavy fine and to imprisonment during the queen’s pleasure, suffered a harsh captivity in the Tower. After the defeat of the Armada he had been condemned to death on a charge of high treason, founded on the tale drawn by torture from a priest, that Arundel had urged him to say a mass for the success of the Spaniards. But he was allowed to linger in his prison until 1595 when he died, the sight of his wife and children being cruelly refused to the dying man. Thus it befell that, of the chiefs of the Howards born since the great Mowbray alliance, two had died by the axe and one in the prison from which a fourth had hardly escaped. A fifth had fallen in a lost battle, and only one had died in peace in his own house.
The ill fate of the Howards seemed to be appeased by the death of Philip, earl of Arundel. Tudor policy did its work well, and noblemen, however illustrious their pedigrees, could no longer be counted as menaces by the Crown, which was, indeed, finding another rival to its power. In the first year of James I., Thomas, the young son of Earl Philip, was restored in blood and given the titles of Arundel and Surrey. But the lands belonging to these titles remained with the Crown and he had to repair his fortunes by one of those marriages which never failed his house, his wife being Alathea Talbot, who was at last the heir of Gilbert, earl of Shrewsbury. To the grief of his mother he left the Roman church. A knight of the Garter, he was in 1621 created earl marshal for life, and revived the jurisdiction belonging to the office. An act of 1627, one of several such aimed at aggrandizing families by diverting the descent of dignities in fee from heirs general, entailed the earldom and castle of Arundel upon Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey and the heirs male of his body “and for default of such issue, to the heirs of his body.” His pride and austerity made him unpopular at court and he left the country in 1642, settling at last in Padua, where he died in 1646, impoverished by the sequestrations of the parliament, whose forces had taken and retaken his castle of Arundel. In answer to his petition for the dukedom, the king had, on the 6th of June 1644, given him a patent of the earldom of Norfolk, in order, as it would seem, to flatter him by suggesting that the title of Norfolk would at least be refused to any other family. He is celebrated as a collector of paintings, books, gems and sculptures, his “Arundel marbles” being given by his grandson in 1667 to the University of Oxford. The dukedom for which Arundel had petitioned Charles I. in vain was restored by act of the first parliament of Charles II. to his grandson Thomas, a lunatic living at Padua, on whose death in 1677 it passed to this Thomas’s brother, Henry Frederick, who had been created earl of Norwich and hereditary earl marshal of England in 1672. In 1777 Edward, the ninth of the Howard dukes, died childless in his ninety-second year. With him ended the earldom of Norwich, while the representation of the Mowbrays and Segraves passed to his nieces, the Ladies Stourton and Petre, the abeyance of the two baronies being determined in 1878 in favour of Lord Stourton. Under the act of 1627 the earldom of Arundel and the castle passed with the dukedom to a second cousin, Charles Howard of Greystock (d. 1786), an eccentric recluse. At his death in 1786 he was succeeded by his son Charles, the notorious “Jockey of Norfolk,” the big, coarse, generous, slovenly, hard-drinking Whig of whom all the memoir-writers of his age have their anecdotes. He conformed to the Church of England and spent a vast sum in restoring Arundel Castle. A third cousin succeeded him in 1815, Bernard Edward Howard, who, although a Roman Catholic, was enabled, by the act of 1824, to act as earl marshal. This was the grandfather of the fifteenth duke, earl of Arundel, Surrey and Norfolk, and hereditary earl marshal of England.
The eldest of the cadet branches of the ducal house has its origin in William (c. 1510–1573), eldest son of the victor of Flodden by his second marriage. He survived the reign of Henry VIII., that perilous age for the Howards, with no worse misadventure than the conviction of himself and his wife of misprision of treason in concealing the offences of his niece, Queen Catherine. But both were pardoned. In 1553 he had the office of lord admiral of England, and in the next year the Garter. For his services against Sir Thomas Wyat he was created (March 11, 1553/4) Lord Howard of Effingham, the title being taken from a Surrey manor granted him by Edward VI. Queen Elizabeth continued his employment in diplomacy, and had he been richer he might have had an earldom. His eldest son Charles (1536–1624), lord admiral of England in 1585, sailed as commander in chief against the Spanish Armada, and, although giving due weight to the counsel of Drake and his other officers, showed himself a leader as prudent as courageous. He was created earl of Nottingham in 1596 and died in 1624. The legend that the admiral was a Roman Catholic has no authority. Two of his sons succeeded in turn to the earldom of Nottingham, extinct on the death of Charles, the third earl in 1681. Sir William Howard of Lingfield, younger brother of the great admiral, carried on the Effingham line, his great-grandson succeeding to the barony on the extinction of the earldom. Francis, seventh Lord Howard of Effingham, was created earl of Effingham in 1731, a title extinct in 1816 with the fourth earl, but revived again in 1837 for the eleventh baron, who had served as a general officer in the Peninsular campaign, the great-grandfather of the present peer.
A patent of 1604 created Henry Howard (1540–1614), younger son of Surrey the poet, earl of Northampton, a peerage which ended with the death of this, the most unprincipled of his house.
Thomas, son of the fourth duke of Norfolk’s marriage with the daughter and heir of Thomas, Lord Audley of Walden, founded the line of the present earls of Suffolk and Berkshire and of the extinct Lords Howard of Escrick. His barony of Howard of Walden has descended to his heirs general. Lord William Howard (1563–1640), the “belted Will” of Scott’s Lay and the “bauld Willie” of more authentic legend, was another of the sons of the fourth duke and Margaret Audley. Married in 1577 to one of the three co-heirs of the Lord Dacre of Gilsland he suffered under Elizabeth more than one imprisonment with his brother the unfortunate earl of Arundel. But in 1603 he was able, on the partition of the Dacre lands, to make his home at Naworth Castle, where he lived, a border patriarch, cultivating his estates and serving as a commissioner of the borders. His great-grandson Charles Howard, although fledged in a nest of cavaliers, changed sides and fought at Worcester for the parliament. The Protector summoned him in 1657 to his House of Lords, but he was imprisoned in 1659 on suspicion of a share in Booth’s insurrection and, after the Restoration, was created, in 1661, earl of Carlisle, Viscount Morpeth and Lord Dacre of Gilsland, titles which are still held by his descendants. From Sir Francis Howard, a cavalier colonel and a younger son of “bauld Willie,” come the Howards of Corby Castle in Cumberland, a branch without a hereditary title.
William Howard, Viscount Stafford, was the fifth son of Thomas, earl of Arundel, and grandson of Philip the prisoner. Marrying the sister and heir of the fifth Lord Stafford, who died in 1637, he and his wife were created Baron and Baroness Stafford by a patent of 1640, with remainder, in default of heirs male, to heirs female. A grant of the precedence enjoyed by the bride’s father being held illegal, her husband was in the same year created Viscount Stafford. Roger Stafford, the impoverished heir male of the ancient Staffords, had been forced to surrender his barony to the king by a deed dated in the preceding year, a piece of injustice which is in the teeth of all modern conceptions of peerage law. The Viscount Stafford was one of the “five Popish lords” committed to the Tower in 1678 as a result of the slanders of Titus Oates and he died by the axe in 1680 upon testimony which, as the diarist Evelyn protested, “should not be taken against the life of a dog.” But three earls of his own house—Carlisle, Suffolk and Berkshire—and the Lord Howard of Escrick, an ex-trooper of Cromwell’s guard and an anabaptist sectary, gave their votes against him, his nephew Mowbray being the only peer of his name in the minority for acquittal. In 1688 his widow was created countess of Stafford for life, and his eldest son, Henry, had the earldom of Stafford, with special remainder to his brothers. This earldom ended in 1762, but the attainder was reversed by an act of 1824 and in the following year Sir George Jerningham, the heir general, established his claim to the Stafford barony of 1640.
Authorities.—State papers; patent, close and plea rolls. Tierney, History of Arundel; G. E. C., Complete Peerage; J. H. Round, Peerage Studies; Howard of Corby, Memorials of the Family of Howard; Brenan and Statham, House of Howard; Howard, Historical Anecdotes of the Howard Family; Morant, Essex; Blomefield, Norfolk. (O. Ba.)