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Portrait of Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey, 2nd Duke of Norfolk (1443-1524)
Thomas Howard's signature as Earl of Surrey
Thomas Howard's signature as Duke of Norfolk, from Doyle's 'Official Baronage'
Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey, 2nd Duke of Norfolk (1443-1524)

THOMAS HOWARD, I Earl of Surrey and second Duke of Norfolk of the Howard house (1443-1524), warrior and statesman, was only son of Sir John Howard, afterwards first duke of Norfolk, by his wife Catharine, daughter of William, lord Moleyns. He was born in 1443, was educated at the school at Thetford, and began a long career of service at court as henchman to Edward IV.

He took part in the war which broke out in 1469 between the king and the Earl of Warwick, and when, in 1470, Edward was driven to flee to Holland, Howard took sanctuary at Colchester. On Edward's return in 1471, Howard joined him and fought by his side in the battle of Barnet. On 30 April 1472 he married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Frederick Tilney, and widow of Humphrey, lord Berners. Soon afterwards he went as a volunteer to the camp of Charles, duke of Burgundy, who was threatening war against Louis XI of France. He did not see much service, and after the truce of Senlis came back to England, where he was made esquire of the body to Edward IV in 1473. In June 1475 he led six men-at-arms and two hundred archers to join the king's army in France; but Edward soon made peace with Louis XI, and led his forces home without a battle.

Howard then took up his abode at his wife's house of Ashwellthorpe Hall, Norfolk, where he lived the life of a country gentleman, and in 1476 was made sheriff of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. On 18 Jan. 1478 he was knighted by Edward IV at the marriage between the king's second son, the young Duke of York (then created also Duke of Norfolk), and Lady Anne Mowbray, only child of John, duke of Norfolk. Anne Mowbray died in 1483, before the consummation of her marriage, and the direct line of the Mowbrays became extinct, whereupon Howard's father, as next of kin, was created Duke of Norfolk, and his son Earl of Surrey. In the same year Surrey was made knight of the Garter, was sworn of the privy council, and was appointed lord steward of the household.

Surrey had now taken his place as a courtier and an official, and henceforth was distinguished by loyalty to the actual wearer of the crown, whoever he might be. He acquiesced in Richard III's usurpation, and carried the sword of state at his coronation. He and his father fought for Richard at Bosworth Field, where his father was killed and he was taken prisoner. He was attainted by the first parliament of Henry VII, and his estates were forfeited. He was also committed to the Tower, where he remained for three years and a half, receiving the liberal allowance of £2 a week for his board.

Misfortune did not shake his principle of loyalty to the powers that be, and he refused to seek release by favouring rebellion. When, in June 1487, the Earl of Lincoln invaded England, and the lieutenant of the Tower offered to open the doors to Surrey, he refused the chance of escape. Henry VII soon saw that Surrey could be converted into an official, and would serve as a conspicuous example to other nobles. In January 1489 he waa released, and was restored to his earldom, though the calculating king kept the greater part of his forfeited lands, and gave back only those which he held in right of his wife, and those which had been granted to the Earl of Oxford. In May he was sent to put down a rising in Yorkshire, caused by the pressure of taxation. The Earl of Northumberland had been slain by the insurgents, whom Surrey quickly subdued and hanged their leader in York. The care of the borders was now entrusted to Surrey, who was made lieutenant-general of the north, was placed on the commission of peace for Northumberland, and was appointed sub-warden of the east and middle marches, which were under the nominal charge of Arthur, prince of Wales. In the spring of 1492 he showed his vigilance by putting down a rising at Acworth, near Pomfret, so promptly that nothing is known of it save an obscure mention.

Surrey was now reckoned the chief general in England, and though summoned southwards when Henry VII threatened an expedition against France, was chiefly employed in watching the Scottish border against the Scottish king and Perkin Warbeck. In 1497 James IV laid siege to Norham Castle, but retreated before the rapid advance of Surrey, who retaliated by a raid into Scotland, where he challenged the Scottish king to battle; but James did not venture an engagement, and bad weather forced Surrey to retire. Surrey's services received tardy recognition from Henry VII; in June 1501 he was sworn of the privy council, and was made lord treasurer. His knowledge of Scotland was used for diplomatic purposes, and in the same year he was tent to arrange the terms of peace with that country on the basis of the marriage of Henry VII's daughter Margaret to James IV. In 1503 he was at the head of the escort which conducted the princess from her grandmother's house of Colliweston, Northampton, to Edinburgh, where he was received with honour. After this he stood high in the king's confidence, was named one of the executors of his will, and was present on all great occasions at the court. In October 1508 he was sent to Antwerp to negotiate for the marriage of Henry's daughter Mary with Charles, prince of Castile. It was not, however, till after twenty years of hard service that Henry VII, shortly before his death, made a restoration of his forfeited manors.

On the accession of Henry VIII, Surrey's age, position, and experience marked him out as the chief adviser of the new king and the most influential member of the privy council. In March 1509 he was one of the commissioners to conclude a treaty with France. In July 1510 he was made earl marshal, and in November 1511 was a commissioner to conclude a treaty with Ferdinand the Catholic. But Surrey felt that, though he was valued by the young king, he did not become his trusted adviser, and he looked with jealous eyes on the rapid rise of Wolsey. He suspected Wolsey of encouraging the king in extravagance, and fostering his ambition for distinction in foreign affairs contrary to the cautious policy of his father. He consequently gave way to outbursts of ill-temper, and in September 1512, 'being discountenanced by the king, he left the court. Wolsey thinks it would be a good thing if he were ousted from his lodging there altogether' (Brewer, Calendar, i. No. 3443).

But Henry VIII was wise enough to see the advantage of maintaining a balance in his council, and he knew the worth of a man like Surrey. When, in 1513, he led his army into France, Surrey was left as lieutenant-general of the north. He had to meet the attack of James IV of Scotland, which was so decisively repelled on Flodden Field (9 Sept. 1513), a victory due to the energy of Surrey in raising troops and in organising his army, as well as to the strategical skill which he showed in his dispositions for the battle. This is the more remarkable when we remember that he was then in his seventieth year. As a recognition of this signal service Surrey, on 1 Feb. 1514, was created Duke of Norfolk, with an annuity of £40 out of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and further had a grant of an addition to his coat of arms—on a bend in his shield a demi-lion, gules, pierced in the mouth with an arrow.

Though Norfolk had gained distinction he did not gain influence over the king, whose policy was completely directed by Wolsey on lines contrary to the wishes of the old nobility. Norfolk was opposed to the marriage of the king's sister Mary with Louis XII of France, and vainly tried to prevent it. To console him for his failure he was chosen to conduct Mary to her husband, and waited till he was in France to wreak his ill-humour by dismissing Mary's English attendants. This act only threw Mary more completely on Wolsey's side, and so increased his influence. Norfolk must have felt the hopelessness of further opposition when, on 16 Nov. 1515, he and the Duke of Suffolk conducted Wolsey, after his reception of the cardinal's hat, from the high altar to the door of Westminster Abbey. He gradually resigned himself to Wolsey's policy, and the Venetian envoy Giustinian reports that he was 'very intimate with the cardinal.'

In February 1516 the Duchess of Norfolk was godmother to the Princess Mary, and in the same year Norfolk was a commissioner for forming a league with the emperor and Spain in defence of the church. In May 1517 he showed his old vigour in putting down a riot of the London apprentices against foreigners, which, from the summary punishment it received, was known as 'Evil May day.' When the king went to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, Norfolk was left guardian of the kingdom. But a painful task was in store for him: in May 1521 he was appointed lord high steward for the trial of Edward, duke of Buckingham, on the charge of treason. Buckingham was his friend, and father of the wife of his eldest son; and few incidents are more characteristic of the temper of the time than that Norfolk should have consented to preside at such a trial, of which the issue was a foregone conclusion. With tears streaming down his face Norfolk passed sentence of death on a man with whose sentiments he entirely agreed, but had his reward in a grant of manors from Buckingham's forfeitures.

In spite of his great age Norfolk still continued at court, and was present at the reception of Charles V in May 1522. In December, however, he resigned the office of treasurer, but was present at parliament in April 1523. After that he retired to his castle of Framlingham, where he died on 21 May 1524, and was buried at Thetford Priory, of which he was patron. A tomb was raised over him, which at the dissolution of the monasteries was removed to the church of Framlingham. It is said that his body finally remained in the Howard Chapel at Lambeth, where his second wife was also buried.

The career of Howard is an excellent example of the process by which the Tudor kings converted the old nobility into dignified officials, and reduced them into entire dependence on the crown. Howard accepted the position, worked hard, abandoned all scruples, and gathered every possible reward. Polydore Vergil praises him as 'vir prudentia, gravitate et constantia praeditus.' By his first wife, Elizabeth Tilney, he had eight sons [incl. Howard, Thomas II, and Howard, Sir Edward], of whom five died young, and three daughters; by his second wife, Agnes, daughter of Sir Philip Tilney, he had three sons, including William Howard, first lord Howard of Effingham and four daughters. By the marriages of this numerous offspring the Howard family was connected with most of the chief families of England, and secured a lasting position.





Source:
Creighton, Mandell. "THOMAS HOWARD, I Earl of Surrey and II Duke of Norfolk."
Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. XXVIII. Sidney Lee, Ed.
New York: Macmillan and Co., 1891. 62-64.




Other Local Resources:




Books for further study:

Brenan, Gerald and Edward Phillips Statham. The House of Howard. Vol I.
            Hutchinson & Co, 1907.

Robinson, John Martin. The Dukes of Norfolk: A Quincentennial History.
            Oxford University Press, 1983.

Tucker, Melvin. The Life of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and Second Duke of Norfolk.
            Mouton, 1964.




Sir Thomas Howard on the Web:


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Charles VII, King of France
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The Battle of Castillon, 1453



The Wars of the Roses 1455-1485
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The First Battle of St. Albans, 1455
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The Rout of Ludford, 1459
The Battle of Northampton, 1460
The Battle of Wakefield, 1460
The Battle of Mortimer's Cross, 1461
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The Battle of Towton, 1461
The Battle of Hedgeley Moor, 1464
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Richard Woodville, 1. Earl Rivers
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Robert Neville, Bishop of Salisbury
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Margaret Beaufort
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Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham
Humphrey Stafford, E. of Devon
Thomas, Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby
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Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex
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Henry Percy, 2. E. Northumberland
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William, Lord Hastings
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Thomas, Lord Scales
John, Lord Lovel and Holand
Francis Lovell, Viscount Lovell
Sir Richard Ratcliffe
William Catesby
Ralph, 4th Lord Cromwell
Jack Cade's Rebellion, 1450


Tudor Period

King Henry VII
Queen Elizabeth of York
Arthur, Prince of Wales
Lambert Simnel
Perkin Warbeck
The Battle of Blackheath, 1497

King Ferdinand II of Aragon
Queen Isabella of Castile
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor

King Henry VIII
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Queen Anne of Cleves
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King Edward VI
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Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland
James IV, King of Scotland
The Battle of Flodden Field, 1513
James V, King of Scotland
Mary of Guise, Queen of Scotland

Mary Tudor, Queen of France
Louis XII, King of France
Francis I, King of France
The Battle of the Spurs, 1513
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Eustace Chapuys, Imperial Ambassador
The Siege of Boulogne, 1544

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
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Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
Thomas, Lord Audley
Thomas Wriothesley, E. Southampton
Sir Richard Rich

Edward Stafford, D. of Buckingham
Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland
Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk
Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire
George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford
John Russell, Earl of Bedford
Thomas Grey, 2. Marquis of Dorset
Henry Grey, D. of Suffolk
Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester
George Talbot, 4. E. Shrewsbury
Francis Talbot, 5. E. Shrewsbury
Henry Algernon Percy,
     5th Earl of Northumberland
Henry Algernon Percy,
     6th Earl of Northumberland
Ralph Neville, 4. E. Westmorland
Henry Neville, 5. E. Westmorland
William Paulet, Marquis of Winchester
Sir Francis Bryan
Sir Nicholas Carew
John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford
Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral
Edward Seymour, Protector Somerset
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury
Henry Pole, Lord Montague
Sir Geoffrey Pole
Thomas Manners, Earl of Rutland
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Henry Bourchier, 2. Earl of Essex
Robert Radcliffe, 1. Earl of Sussex
Henry Radcliffe, 2. Earl of Sussex
George Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon
Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter
George Neville, Baron Bergavenny
Sir Edward Neville
William, Lord Paget
William Sandys, Baron Sandys
William Fitzwilliam, E. Southampton
Sir Anthony Browne
Sir Thomas Wriothesley
Sir William Kingston
George Brooke, Lord Cobham
Sir Richard Southwell
Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre
Sir Francis Weston
Henry Norris
Lady Jane Grey
Sir Thomas Arundel
Sir Richard Sackville
Sir William Petre
Sir John Cheke
Walter Haddon, L.L.D
Sir Peter Carew
Sir John Mason
Nicholas Wotton
John Taylor
Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Younger

Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio
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Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester
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Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London
John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester
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Thomas Linacre
William Grocyn
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Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester
Edward Fox, Bishop of Hereford

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Pope Paul III
Pope Pius V

Pico della Mirandola
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Martin Bucer
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Christopher Saint-German
Thomas Tallis
Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent
Hans Holbein, the Younger
The Sweating Sickness

Dissolution of the Monasteries
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
Robert Aske
Anne Askew
Lord Thomas Darcy
Sir Robert Constable

Oath of Supremacy
The Act of Supremacy, 1534
The First Act of Succession, 1534
The Third Act of Succession, 1544
The Ten Articles, 1536
The Six Articles, 1539
The Second Statute of Repeal, 1555
The Act of Supremacy, 1559
Articles Touching Preachers, 1583

Queen Elizabeth I
William Cecil, Lord Burghley
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Sir Francis Walsingham
Sir Nicholas Bacon
Sir Thomas Bromley

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick
Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon
Sir Thomas Egerton, Viscount Brackley
Sir Francis Knollys
Katherine "Kat" Ashley
Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester
George Talbot, 6. E. of Shrewsbury
Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury
Gilbert Talbot, 7. E. of Shrewsbury
Sir Henry Sidney
Sir Robert Sidney
Archbishop Matthew Parker
Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich
Sir Christopher Hatton
Edward Courtenay, E. Devonshire
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Thomas Radcliffe, 3. Earl of Sussex
Henry Radcliffe, 4. Earl of Sussex
Robert Radcliffe, 5. Earl of Sussex
William Parr, Marquis of Northampton
Henry Wriothesley, 2. Southampton
Henry Wriothesley, 3. Southampton
Charles Neville, 6. E. Westmorland
Thomas Percy, 7. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 8. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 9. E. Nothumberland
William Herbert, 1. Earl of Pembroke
Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
Henry Howard, 1. Earl of Northampton
Thomas Howard, 1. Earl of Suffolk
Henry Hastings, 3. E. of Huntingdon
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland
Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland
Henry FitzAlan, 12. Earl of Arundel
Thomas, Earl Arundell of Wardour
Edward Somerset, E. of Worcester
William Davison
Sir Walter Mildmay
Sir Ralph Sadler
Sir Amyas Paulet
Gilbert Gifford
Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague
François, Duke of Alençon & Anjou

Mary, Queen of Scots
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell
Anthony Babington and the Babington Plot
John Knox

Philip II of Spain
The Spanish Armada, 1588
Sir Francis Drake
Sir John Hawkins

William Camden
Archbishop Whitgift
Martin Marprelate Controversy
John Penry (Martin Marprelate)
Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury
John Dee, Alchemist

Philip Henslowe
Edward Alleyn
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Assize
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Praemunire


The Stuarts

King James I of England
Anne of Denmark
Henry, Prince of Wales
The Gunpowder Plot, 1605
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset
Arabella Stuart, Lady Lennox

William Alabaster
Bishop Hall
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Archbishop William Laud
John Selden
Lucy Harington, Countess of Bedford
Henry Lawes

King Charles I
Queen Henrietta Maria

Long Parliament
Rump Parliament
Kentish Petition, 1642

Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford
John Digby, Earl of Bristol
George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol
Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax
Robert Devereux, 3rd E. of Essex
Robert Sidney, 2. E. of Leicester
Algernon Percy, E. of Northumberland
Henry Montagu, Earl of Manchester
Edward Montagu, 2. Earl of Manchester

The Restoration

King Charles II
King James II
Test Acts

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Hatfield House
Richmond Palace
Windsor Palace
Woodstock Manor

The Cinque Ports
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Malmsey Wine
Great Fire of London, 1666
Merchant Taylors' School
Westminster School
The Sanctuary at Westminster
"Sanctuary"


Images:

Chart of the English Succession from William I through Henry VII

Medieval English Drama

London c1480, MS Royal 16
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR
c. 1690. View of London Churches, after the Great Fire
The Yard of the Tabard Inn from Thornbury, Old and New London




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