The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville

Sir Robert Howard born 1385 died 1426

Sir John Howard  1st Duke born 1420 died 1483 at Bosworth Field

Thomas Howard 2nd Duke born 1444 died 1524

Thomas Howard 3rd Duke born 1473 died 1554

Thomas  Howard 4th Duke born 1538  beheaded 1572 attainted

Sir Philip Howard Earl of Arundel born 1557  died 1595 (Saint Philip)

Thomas Howard Earl of Arundel born 1585 died 1646 (Collector Earl)

Henry Frederick Earl of Arundel born 1608  died 1652

Thomas 5th Duke (from 1660) born 1627 died 1677

Henry 6th Duke born 1629 died 1684

When the Collector Earl died he was succeeded by his son Henry Frederick in 1646. As the Dukedom title had not yet been restored, Henry Frederick assumed the title of Earl of Arundel, Surrey and Norfolk. Born in 1608, he seems to have behaved in an exemplary fashion accompanying his mother on numerous continental trips in the 1620s and later playing the part of a good husband, accomplished courtier and zealous Royalist during the Civil War. However on the death of his father he made a most unworthy attempt to set aside his father’s will and became responsible for some very regrettable ill treatment of his mother, Aletheia, the aged Countess of Arundel.

Henry had been brought up a Catholic and had been educated at the University of Padua where he had been sent at the age of 11, though later he conformed to the Established church. He was created Knight of the Bath at the age of 8, sat in the lower House of Parliament in 1628 and was sworn into the Privy Council in 1634.  In 1626 he married Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke of Lennox, without the King’s consent which put him in disgrace for a while but the marriage was a happy one and Elizabeth bore him a large family of nine sons and three daughters, which secured the future for the Norfolk line as, on each occasion that the male line failed, there was a cadet line descended from Henry on which to fall back.

Henry took part in the Battle of Edgehill but later left the country for 2 years and was present at his father’s deathbed. Upon his return he was fined 2000 by Parliament for his support of the Royalist cause. His father’s debts were still unpaid; Arundel Castle was in ruins, so it would seem that his affairs were in a quite parlous state. This may explain his harsh treatment of his mother and his attempts to divert his father’s will to himself. His father’s instructions in his will gave directions for the erection of a monument and bronze statue and for somewhere for the preservation of his collection. Not one sentence of this part of the will was complied with.  Henry tried every means to get the will, which left everything to Aletheia, overturned.   He behaved in a very unseemly way towards his mother accusing her of squandering his father’s estate, and writing unpleasant letters to her accusing her of all sorts of misdemeanours and frittering away the family fortunes on such things as going to Rome ‘to kiss the Pope’s big toe’. He encouraged her servants to neglect and  speak ill of her. But after three years of litigation, the will was declared to be valid and, much to the satisfaction of many,  Henry Frederick died three years later and two years before his mother on 17th April 1652. Aletheia left most of her husband’s collection to her younger son William, Viscount Stafford. Of Henry Frederick’s sons, Thomas and Henry both succeeded him, Philip became a Priest (subsequently a Cardinal) and Charles and Bernard were the ancestors of the Greystoke and Glossop lines each of which was, in turn to inherit the Dukedom.

Thomas was born in 1627. He left England with his Grandfather at the outbreak of the Civil War and never returned because, at his Grandfather’s house, he succumbed to a fever which damaged his brain causing him to sink into complete lunacy. He was confined at Padua for the rest of his life. It was at his younger brother’s instigation that, within months of Charles II restoration in 1660, a petition in the form of a bill for the restoration of the Dukedom to his insane brother was lodged and granted in 1661. After being under attainder for 100 years the Dukedom was restored with its original precedences thus fulfilling the Collector Earl’s wishes. For Henry the world was looking extremely promising. With his mad brother being unmarried it was only a matter of time before he too would inherit the title. He also managed to pay off all the family debts, reckoned to be in the order of 200,000 which was as great an achievement as the restoration of the title itself. In addition he embarked on a great programme of rebuilding many of the family’s homes which had been damaged during the civil war. Many of the Collector’s precious statues were beyond repair but of those that were, some were given to The University of Oxford in return for which Henry was created a Doctor of Civil Law by the grateful University.

One of Henry’s weaknesses was his impulsive generosity. He allowed visitors to help themselves to books from the library and gave many of the Raphael paintings away. He gave the main library to the Royal Society which did not look after it at all, and eventually sold it as being irrelevant to its main purpose. After 1671 things took a downturn for Henry. It seemed that his lunatic brother would linger on forever and probably outlive him. The attempts to secure the peaceful practice of their religion for Catholics now foundered on a wave of anti Catholic feeling in the country at large and was to lead to something much worse, the Titus Oates popish plot. Bit by bit the King had been forced to legislate against Catholics and in 1674 papists were forbidden to come to Court. Henry and his two sons were proceeded against for recusancy and were no longer able to claim Parliamentary privilege. The family retired to  Bruges where they built a small house and lived there in quiet retirement.

Thomas, the 5th Duke finally died in December 1677 and Henry inherited the Dukedom for which he had waited patiently for 17 years. He took his seat in the House of Lords on January 15th 1678 and at the same time announced his second marriage to his mistress Jane Bickerton.

The new Duke only enjoyed his exalted state in Parliament for ten months  before an Act of 1678 disabling Papists forced him to withdraw from the Lords. The House moved  before his removal to ‘take notice of the good service of the Duke of Norfolk herein’.

Henry retired to his continental home where he lived for the next three years. He returned to face the Norwich Assizes at Thetford which accused him of recusancy. He stayed only to answer the charge, and  left for the continent the next day. He had already expected the worst and had handed all his estates over to the hands of Anglican Trustees so they would not be confiscated.

He returned once more to England after the Oates plot had died down, but not before they had destroyed his Uncle William  Howard, Viscount Stafford, who had been executed as a Catholic Peer involved in the Oates plot (which he most probably was not). The Duke lived a further two years dying on 13th January 1684 in London. He was buried at Arundel. His brother, Philip was eventually created a Cardinal. Though these two brothers saw in their lifetimes the ruin of much of what they had attempted to bring about and the eclipse of their religious and political party within the State, they nonetheless left behind some solid achievements which remain to the present day. The restored Dukedom of Norfolk has flourished and is still an integral part of English life.

Henry was succeeded by his son, also called Henry, as 7th Duke of Norfolk.

Tony Rice-Oxley


Easter Edition 2011

The Dukes of Norfolk