The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Some years ago, the St George’s annual Parish trip went to Arundel Castle where we learnt a little of the history of the Dukes of Norfolk.  This series of articles follows on from that trip to put in greater detail some of the history behind this famous family. This month we cover  the  13th Duke.

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

Henry 7th Duke, born 1655, died 1701

Thomas 8th Duke, born 1683, died 1732

Edward 9th Duke, born 1685, died 1777

Charles 10th Duke, born 1720, died 1786

Charles 11th Duke, born 1746, died 1815

Bernard Edward 12th Duke, born 1765, died 1842

Henry Charles 13th Duke, born 1791, died 1856

Henry Charles, known in contemporary newspapers as ‘Old Pepper and Potatoes’ had lived at Surrey House in Littlehampton on his fathers estate during his father’s lifetime.  When he succeeded he moved straight into Arundel Castle. He was more pompously ducal than any of his forebears. He was a Privy Councillor, a Knight of the Garter and an active courtier.  At various times he held many posts within the court including Treasurer of the Household and Master of Horse. He was once described as unaffected and good natured, but that was when he was young. He hardened and became more arrogant as he grew older. Perhaps this was because, being the  heir-apparent for so long (he was 51 when he inherited), and being so good looking (inherited from his  mother) and from his marriage to Charlotte Sophia Levisohn-Gower, daughter of the 1st Duke of Sutherland he was immediately sucked into the grandest of Whig connections as well as being the son–in-law of the richest man in England.

At his suggestion, his sons double barrelled their name by Royal license to become Fitzalan-Howard in 1842, stressing their descent from the medieval Fitzalan Earls of Arundel as well as the Dukes of Norfolk. This was indicative of his neo feudalism, as was his decision to close the park at Arundel which up until then had been open for the public to use. In addition he made a very foolish ‘let them eat cake’ speech at an agricultural dinner at Steyning in 1845. One observer wondered what it what about agricultural dinners which always inspired Dukes to make outrageously stupid speeches. He had probably had too much to drink when he recommended that the starving poor who could not afford bread, should instead eat curry, because whilst it may not have been enough to nourish them it certainly was warming and ‘comfortable to the stomach’.  Criticisms ran for months in the presses and articles such as ‘Norfolk poudre’ and ‘Ducal condiment for the poor’ appeared regularly.

The Duke was a good farmer and ran his estates well, building many new excellent farm buildings and cottages, and he personally planned a model dairy at Swanbourne with its attendant cattle sheds and octagonal milk room lined with blue and white tiles and a little fountain in the centre. He planned and had installed the new Gatehouse at the top of the high street which can be seen today. He continued his father’s ambitious plan for New Glossop providing the new market hall and the proudly classical railway station with the Howard lion over its entrance.

The great social event of the 13th Duke’s life was the three day visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in December 1846. The Castle was redecorated for the occasion and new furniture including a spectacular state bed with the Royal arms at the head and the Norfolk arms at the foot. There were alarms about Arundel’s habitual wintry chill and a bank of new Joyce stoves were imported for the occasion. The visit was an unqualified success and the royal party departed after three days of visits, hunting, shooting and fishing during which time the Queen inspected  the new dairy at Swanbourne and planted two trees to mark the occasion.

The happy feelings engendered by this visit were soon dissipated by an event which occurred two weeks later.  The Norfolk’s third son and his mother’s favourite, Lord Bernard Thomas Fitzalan-Howard whose 21st birthday was due on 30th December was away on his Grand Tour. Having visited Vienna, Saltzburg, Munich, Rome and Malta he had gone to Egypt for the winter. On 21st December he collapsed and died of a brain tumour on the steps of his hotel.  The Duchess was deeply distraught by the news but wrote with touching fortitude on the outside of her son’s last letter ‘God’s will be done’.

The most conspicuous episode in the Duke’s career was his unexpected support for Lord John Russell’s Ecclesiastical Title Bill which effectively criticized the Pope’s (Pius IX) Catholic Hierarchy move. He did not believe that the Pope should interfere with the liberties of his country so much so that he quit the Roman Communion and conformed to the Established Church of England. In condemnation  of this ‘Papal aggression’. Another and wholly credible reason behind his strong feelings was the fear that it would stir up hostility against poor Catholics, particularly those in the army of that time. Letters poured into him week by week saying how hard it was being a Catholic, particularly in an English regiment.

Despite his adoption of the established church of this country, he never formally renounced his faith and died a Catholic in February 1856. The Duke’s stand over the Hierarchy issue was not shared by his two remaining sons, the first of which became 14th Duke of Norfolk.

Tony Rice-Oxley

Easter Edition 2012

The Dukes of Norfolk