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. The current Duke, the 17th is Miles Fitzalan-Howard.

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 born 1847, died 1917

Bernard Fitzalan 16th Duke, 1908-1917-1975

Bernard’s father, Henry, died when Bernard was only 9. He was educated at the Oratory School and was commissioned into the Royal Horse Guards in 1931 but resigned his commission in 1933. He joined the 4th Battalion The Royal Sussex Regiment in 1934 and was promoted Major in 1939. He served in World War II where he was wounded in action.

He inherited from his father an excellently run estate comprising 50,000 acres and over 40 manors. Norfolk House in London was given up and demolished in 1938 but otherwise the Duke ran his estates on the traditional family lines. In 1960 he built a new Georgian style house in Arundel Park into which he moved with his wife Lavinia.

As Earl Marshal of England, Bernard became a well known and popular public figure. He was responsible for the funerals of George V, George VI and Winston Churchill, the coronations of George VI and Elizabeth II as well as the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales at Caernarvon. As the leading Roman Catholic layman he represented the English Crown on various occasions in Rome including the coronations of Popes John XXIII  and Paul VI. He saw his Father’s church in Arundel raised to cathedral status.

Though he held many public offices and appointments his chief interests were cricket and the turf. He was President of the MCC and manager of the English cricket team during the 1962-1963 tour of Australia and New Zealand. He was senior steward of the Jockey Club.

In 1937 he married the Hon.Lavinia Strutt, daughter of Lord Belper, and they had four daughters, Lady Anne, Lady Mary, Lady Sarah, and Lady Jane. On his death in 1975 all his titles, except those inherited through his wife, passed to his cousin and male heir Major-General Miles Fitzalan-Howard.

In 1956 the Arundel Estates Act was passed by Parliament and this enabled the whole entail, created by the Collector Earl in the seventeenth century, to be broken up and parts of the family property to be transferred to discretionary trusts for the benefit of his four daughters, thus avoiding potential problems with death duties wiping out the entire estate.

The castle was passed into a trust in 1976 with the Duke as Chairman. So successful was this arrangement that many other major houses in Britain including Chatsworth, Harewood, Wilton and Burghley, have followed suit.

The announcement that His Grace would manage the English cricket team in Australia came as a complete surprise to many. He was a keen though not very talented cricketer and, when batting, it was customary to always let His Grace get ‘off the mark’ before he was returned to the pavilion. At Arundel the umpire was invariably the Duke’s own butler who, when the Duke was out, would diplomatically announce “His Grace is not in!”  His father the 15th Duke had built the picturesque ground at Arundel Castle and the Duke hosted matches against touring teams there from 1954. Sadly these have now ceased due to the demands placed on the international teams and the costs of hosting such events.

The Duke was chosen as Manager of the tour down under following a chance remark after a committee meeting at Lords. Billy Griffith was the prime candidate to manage the team but he had other pressing matters to deal with as secretary of the MCC and needed to remain at Lords for the winter.  At the meeting it was mentioned that the English Captain, Ted Dexter, would be a difficult man to manage. However both the Duke and Dexter were keen followers of horse racing and, as President of Sussex County Cricket Club, he had appointed Dexter as county captain. There was therefore an affinity between the two. Billy Griffith picked the Duke for the task and when the decision was announced it was said that only the Duke could manage ‘Lord Ted’.  The tour was a great success with many social engagements and high society events for which the Duke was well suited. At a pre season dinner for the team the Duke cleared his throat as the port was passed and delivered himself of a sentence which the assembled company would remember for the rest of their days. “Gentlemen,” he said “I wish this to be an entirely informal tour.  So please address me merely as ‘Sir’.” At one racing occasion down under, the Duke’s horse was running in a one mile race. In the paddock the trainer was seen giving the horse something. When questioned about this the trainer said that it was only a small sweet and to prove it he and the Duke would also eat one which they did. He was then asked about the tactics for the race. He answered that the horse would be held back until the last 2 furlongs and then given his head. They would then see him streak ahead. The only things that could possibly pass him then would  be himself or the Duke of Norfolk!  The Duke loved that tour more than any other official duty he had ever undertaken in his auspicious public life.

The Duke’s relationship with Fred Trueman on the tour started off on a bad footing as socially they were worlds apart. However by the end of the tour they were best friends and Fred Trueman’s memoirs speak highly of the Duke.

On Bernard’s death on 31st January 1975, Lavinia took over the running of the Friends of Arundel Castle Cricket Club which continues to this day. All titles passed to Miles except the Lordship of Herries of Terreglas which was inherited by his daughter Lady Anne who had married English Cricketer Colin Cowdrey, Baron Cowdrey of Tonbridge.

Bernard was buried at the Fitzalan chapel on the western grounds of Arundel Castle. He had served  one of the longest periods as Duke of Norfolk of any of his forebears – 58 years.

And so we come to the end of this series of articles following this extraordinary family from those early days way back in the Middle Ages to the current time.  We hope that you have enjoyed them, and can recommend a visit to Arundel Castle to see many of the artefacts referred to in these articles.

Tony Rice-Oxley

Christmas Edition 2012

The Dukes of Norfolk