Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Howard, Philip (1557-1595)

615105Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 28 — Howard, Philip (1557-1595)1891Mandell Creighton

HOWARD, PHILIP, first Earl of Arundel of the Howard family (1557–1595), was eldest son of Thomas Howard III, fourth duke of Norfolk [q. v.], by his wife Lady Mary, daughter and heiress of Henry Fitzalan, twelfth earl of Arundel [q. v.] He was born at Arundel House, London, on 28 June 1557, and his mother died two months after his birth. King Philip was one of his godfathers, and the child was regarded as heir to two of the greatest families in England. In youth he was known by the courtesy title of Earl of Surrey. His education was committed to Gregory Martin, fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, who was inclined to the old religion, and ultimately left England for Douay. In 1569, at the age of twelve, he was formally betrothed to his father's ward, Anne Dacre, one of the three coheiresses of Thomas, lord Dacre of Gilsland, a child of the same age with himself, and the marriage was solemnised in 1571. Next year his father was executed for high treason, and before his death committed to his eldest son the care of his younger brothers and their betrothed wives (see Howard, Lord William, 1563-1640; Wright, Queen Elizabeth and her Times, i. 402, &c.) In accordance with his father's wishes he went to Cambridge, where he passed his time in dissipation, which, however, did not prevent the university from honouring a young man of such high position with the degree of M.A. without requiring the usual exercises in November 1576 (Cooper, Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 188). On his return to London, Surrey plunged into all the gaieties of life at court. He left his young wife unheeded in the country, because the queen did not like her favourites to be married. His reckless manner of life gave great concern to his maternal grandfather, the Earl of Arundel, and he ran into debt by his extravagance and by the entertainment which he gave to the queen at Kenninghall in 1578 (Nichols, Progresses of Elizabeth, ii. 130, 198). He was, however, disappointed in his attempts to become a royal favourite, and was probably weary of his profligate life, when the death of the Earl of Arundel, in February 1580, brought him face to face with his responsibilities. He succeeded to the earldom of Arundel by right of his mother, and Lord Lumley made over to him his life interest in the castle and honour of Arundel. His claim, however, was questioned, and the matter was before the council, who decided in his favour. But he was not restored in blood till 18 March 1581 (Lords' Journals, ii. 54).

Arundel felt that his prospects of success at court were small, and turned to domestic life. His wife was a woman of strong character, and of a religious disposition, and her influence soon made itself felt upon her husband. It is said that Arundel was much moved by the arguments used by Campion in dispute with the Anglican divines in September 1581. At all events, the increasing seriousness of his thoughts led him in the direction of Romanism, which his wife openly professed in 1582. She was consequently committed by Elizabeth's orders to the care of Sir Thomas Shirley of Wiston, Sussex, by whom she was guarded for a year, during which time her first child Elizabeth was born. Arundel was now regarded with suspicion. Parsons speaks of an attempt in 1582 'to draw the Earls of Arundel and Northumberland to join with the Duke of Guise for the delivery of the Queen of Scots' (Knox, Letters of Cardinal Allen, 392n.) In consequence of these suspicions, the queen paid Arundel a visit at his London house in 1583, and soon afterwards sent him a message that he was to consider himself a prisoner there. An attempt was made to implicate him in Throgmorton's plot, and he was subject to many interrogatories. This harsh treatment only had the result of driving Arundel to seek the consolations of religion, and in September 1584 he was received into the Roman church by Father William Weston, and henceforth dedicated all his energies to the service of his new religious belief. At first he tried to dissemble, and accompanied the queen to church, but invented excuses for absenting himself from the service. But he soon found the strain upon his conscience to be too great, and in April 1585 attempted to flee from England. He embarked on a ship at Littlehampton in Sussex, leaving behind him a letter to the queen explaining the motives of his departure. His movements, however, were carefully watched, and no sooner was his ship in the Channel than it was boarded and he was brought back. He was committed to the Tower on 25 April 1585, and was arraigned before the Star-chamber on the charges of being a Romanist, fleeing from England without the queen's leave, intriguing with Allen and Parsons, and claiming the title of Duke of Norfolk. On these grounds he was condemned, in May 1586, to pay a fine of 10,000l. and be imprisoned during the queen's pleasure. He remained in the Tower for the rest of his life, while his wife lived in comparative poverty. His only son Thomas was born, but he was not allowed to see his wife or child. Arundel and his wife were reckoned on by the foreign plotters as helpers (Burghley Papers, ii. 489, 493), and Arundel, had he left England, would have been a dangerous centre for the queen's enemies. But the exceptional severity with which he was treated can only be accounted for by strong personal dislike on the queen's part, carefully fostered by powerful enemies. Elizabeth's pride was hurt by Arundel's constancy, and she had no sympathy with conscientious convictions. She felt personally aggrieved that one of her nobles should venture openly to take up opinions of which she disapproved.

In the Tower Arundel was subjected to much persecution, until at last a definite charge was produced against him. In 1588 some other Romanists confined in the Tower, among whom was a priest, William Bennet, contrived to meet together secretly for mass. When the Spanish Armada was expected, Arundel suggested that they should spend twenty-four hours continuously in prayer, and this was done. Arundel was accused of praying for the success of the Spaniards, and Bennet was induced by threats of torture to confess that Arundel moved him to say a mass for that purpose. Bennet, in a letter to Arundel, afterwards said that he 'confessed everything that seemed to content their humour,' and asked pardon for his cowardice. Arundel was brought to trial for high treason on 14 April 1589, and irritated the authorities by his magnificent attire and lofty bearing. He denied the mass for the success of Spain, and explained the prayer as being for personal safety, as the rumour was that the London mob projected the murder of all Romanists. He was found guilty, and was condemned to death. The sentence, however, was not carried out, but he was allowed to linger in the Tower, not knowing that he might not be executed at any moment. He spent his time in pious exercises, and practised rigorous asceticism. He was taken ill after dinner in August 1595, and it is not surprising that his illness was attributed to poison, though there is no ground for the supposition. He begged to be allowed to see his wife and children before he died, and received an answer that if he would once go to church he should be liberated and his estates restored. But he refused the condition, and died, without the consolation of seeing his family, on 19 Oct. 1595. He was buried in the chapel of the Tower, whence his bones were conveyed to Arundel in 1624. His only son, Thomas Howard, second earl of Arundel (1586-1646), is separately noticed. His daughter Elizabeth died unmarried in 1600.

Arundel is described as 'a very tall man, somewhat swarth-coloured.' He was gifted with extraordinary power of memory, and was quick-witted. When his misfortunes began he developed all the qualities of a religious devotee. In the Tower he translated 'An Epistle of Jesus Christ to the Faithful Soule,' by Johann Justus (Antwerp, 1595; republished, London, 1871), and also left in manuscript three treatises' On the Excellence and Utility of Virtue.' There are portraits of him by Zucchero at Castle Howard, Naworth, and Greystock. An engraving is in Lodge's 'Portraits.'

[His life, and also that of his wife, written to show their religious fortitude by a contemporary, probably Lady Arundel's confessor, were edited by the Duke of Norfolk, The Lives of Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, and of Anne Dacres his Wife, 1857; Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 276; Collins's Peerage, i. 108-12; Doyle's Official Baronage, i. 84; Camden's Annals of Elizabeth; Howell's State Trials, i. 1250, &c.; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabrigienses, ii. 187-91; Morris's Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers, ii. 83, &c.; Howard's Memorials of the Howards; Tierney's Hist. of Arundel, p. 357, &c.; Gillow's Dict. of the English Catholics, i. 65-7; Cornelius a Lapide's Preface to Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles.]

M. C.