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 Granville 14th Duke born 1815 died 1860

HENRY 15TH DUKE 1847-1860-1917

The Duke’s main architectural interest was his churches. As well as the major churches in Arundel and Norwich, the Duke commissioned a series of churches in Sheffield, as well as several on his Sussex estate such as St Wilfrid at Angmering and  the school and church in Shoreham. He was a major benefactor of both Westminster Cathedral and Brompton oratory. He was considered an expert in Gothic architecture and was often consulted by those wishing to use this form of building.

He attended the House of Lords regularly but rarely spoke, confining himself to subjects over which he had strong views such as education and the Irish affairs. It was Gladstone’s Home Rule for Ireland which was the strongest factor in driving the Duke into the arms of the Conservatives (He had been a Liberal all his life). For, though a Catholic, he felt strongly about any plan to dismember the United Kingdom. As a Catholic he was not entitled to be appointed  Irish Viceroy, but many said that if he had been able to take up this post, it might well have avoided the disaster of partition and all the troubles which have followed since then.

Henry was made Postmaster General in 1895 and joined the Privy Council at the same time. He was hailed as the greatest Postmaster General ever. He resigned from that position in 1900 to enlist as a Captain in the Imperial Yeomanry, going out to fight the Boers and showing more patriotic fervour than sense for a man in his fifties.   Perhaps, fortunately, he was injured falling off his horse so was spared a Boers bullet. The Duke frequently sat on Royal Commissions,  and in 1903 was Chair of an important commission on Army reform. He naturally had a strong interest in his position as Earl Marshal and planned Queen Victoria’s funeral in 1903 despite an effort by the Lord Chamberlain to usurp the position. He worked hard on the Coronation of Edward VII and also his funeral 7 years later.

After  the death of his son the Duke considered remarrying and for a time thought about marrying the daughter of the Marquess of Salisbury.  In the event, seventeen years after the death of his first wife, in January 1904 the Duke remarried Gwendolen Constable-Maxwell, daughter of Lord Herries, and heiress to that Barony and estates in Yorkshire and Scotland. This marriage ushered in the last and happiest phase of the Duke’s life. His castle was completed, his churches were built and he now received the reward of the family he had always wanted, three daughters and one son, Bernard Marmaduke. He was at his happiest playing with his children, nephews and nieces, and we are often told of his shabby clothes and down at heel appearance. Once whilst waiting for a guest to  arrive at Arundel station he was taken for a porter by a lady who insisted that he carry her bag. This the Duke did and was rewarded with a small coin pressed into his hand!! He was made Lord Lieutenant of Sussex in 1905 and this was his last  important appointment. He worked tirelessly during the first part of the First World War organizing the reception of Belgian refugees. He did not live to see England’s victory but died on 11th February 1917 at the age of 70.

When the 14th Duke had died he had received a simple 6 line obituary in the local Sheffield paper. When Henry died he received a whole page and his funeral and requiems were attended by most of the Sheffield dignitaries and officials. At the same time as his funeral at Arundel, concurrent Requiem Masses were sung in Westminster Cathedral, Brompton Oratory and all the major Catholic churches in England.

‘Thus it has pleased Almighty God to take out of this transitory life……the late and Most High and Mighty and most Noble Prince Henry-Fitzalan Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal and hereditary Marshal of England, Earl of Arundel, Earl of Surrey, Earl of Norfolk, Baron Fitzalan, Baron Clun and Oswaldestre and Baron Maltravers, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. One of His Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Councilors, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, His Majesty’s Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of  the County of Sussex, a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece, of the Noble Order of Christ and the Order of the Golden Spur’ Quite a mouthful!!!

He was succeeded by his son, Bernard Marmaduke as 16th Duke of Norfolk and our next issue will complete our three years exploration of the Dukes of Norfolk.

Tony Rice-Oxley

Autumn Edition 2012

The Dukes of Norfolk