THE HOWARDS.—(THEIR RISE.)
THE Premier Peer of England is a Howard, and a line of poetry 1 about " all the blood of all the Howards" has made their name almost synonymous with aristocracy. Fortunate marriages have made them the representatives of some really old houses, as the Bohims, who were Barons in the Cotentin before the Conquest, but their own pedigree is not a very great one. The earliest of the name who rose far enough to be recorded was Sir William Howard or Reward, one of the special justices appointed 21st Edward I., 1293, to hold assizes throughout the realm, perhaps the very greatest reform ever introduced in England. Mr. Henry Howard, of Corby Castle, in his memorials of the family,. quotes deeds which indicate that Sir William had a grandfather„ but as neither he nor his son were of any mark, we may assume the fact without comment, merely remarking that it is probable, from the name, that the family were Saxon. Sir William held assize- in the West, and on October 11, 1297, he was created one of the judges of the Common Pleas, and he continued to act till 1308 ;- but there is no evidence of his having been Chief Justice, as the peerage-makers have it. The post paid, and Mr. Howard reports that he finds Sir William adding to his estate by purchases in Wig- genhall, East Winch, and neighbouring townships in Norfolk. His first wife, Alice, was a daughter of Sir Robert tifford, the ancestor of a family which afterwards became Earls of Suffolk,. but she left no issue. He married, secondly, another Alice, daughter of Sir Edmund de Fitton, or Phitton, and 'Aster of Sir John de Fitton, on whose death she inherited part of the manor of Fitton, in Wiggenhall St. Germain's, where that family resided,. and whose mansion is still indicated by the surrounding moat, of about anacre in extent. She resided at East Winch, near Lynn, with her husband, and the Fitton and Howard coats of arms are still existing in the windows of the church of Wiggenhall, St. Mary's. The judge was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir John Howard, who purchased many manors in Suffolk and Norfolk, particularly East. Winch, two Waltons, Wiggenhall, Wirmegey, Tirrington, West. Walcot, South Wotton, North Wotton, Great Walsingham, and Clare, and married Joan, daughter of Richard de Cornwall. His. son by her, Sir John Howard, was in 1335 constituted Admiral in. the North Seas, and died after 1388. His son by Alice de Bosco,. heiress to her brother, Robert de Bois, of Fersfield, left by Margaret, daughter of Lord Scales, a son also, John, who was of considerable importance in the Eastern Counties, and died at Jerusalem on pilgrimage. He was twice married, and his granddaughter Eliz.a- beth, by the son of the first wife, marrying John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, carried away most of the Howard estates. By his second wife, Alice, daughter of Sir W. Tendring, of Tendring Hall,. and Stoke Neyland, Sir John had two sons, Robert and Henry.. Of Sir Robert (born about 1381-6) it is recorded that during the French wars of Henry V. "he kept the coasts of France about Calais or thereabouts with a fleet wherein he had 4,000% men, viz., mariners and others." The (probable) portrait of him on painted glass represents a pleasing open countenance, with fair, straight, flowing hair much resembling his mother. His own position as a younger son was not a brilliant one,. as the birth of an heiress to his elder brother and her sub- sequent marriage (in the year 1428-9) to the Earl of Oxford stripped him of the greater part of his patrimonial possessions.. Nor was the match which he made after his French campaign,. however brilliant in point of family, one which brought any addition to his present income or promised any substantial advan- tage to his descendants. He wooed and married the Lady Margaret- Mowbray, a daughter—probably the eldest daughter—of Thomas- de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Nottingham and Earl. Marshal, Plantagenet and Capet by the mother's aide, and husband of Elizabeth, the daughter and coheiress of Richard FitzAlan,. Earl of Arundel. But the fortunes of the family were now over-
cast. The Mowbray estate, sequestrated in great part on the- banishment of the Duke, but without any regular attainder, devolved on Thomas, the eldest brother of. Lady Margaret, who was fourteen years old when his father died ; but rising in rebel. lion against Henry IV. was beheaded when scarce nineteen. Leaving no issue, his brother John, serving in the French wars with Henry V., ultimately had his lands restored to him ; but it was not till the third year of Henry -VI. (1424) that Parliament adjudged that the title of Duke of Norfolk belonged to him. The dukedom of Norfolk descended in the Mowbrays for two generations more before the male race became extinct. The last Duke of that family died in January, 1476, leaving an only daughter and heiress Ann, who died in 1482, and it was not till some years after this last date, long after the death of Lady Margaret Mowbray, that the }I ow- ards benefited by the match made by Sir Robert. The sum of 2001. had been promised by Lady Margaret's brother, John Duke of Nor- folk, but at the time of the death of Alice Tendring in 1426 this had never been paid, and Sir Robert and his wife were supported by his mother on her estate. Nothing could therefore have been less of a mercenary match on both sides than that on which—as it turned out —the greatness of the 'Toward family was built: Sir Robert Howard himself died before his father in some year between 1426 and 1436 ; his wife was alive in 1437. Their son John, who was destined to become the successor of the Mowbrays in their ducal dignity, and the second founder of the family of Howard, was there- fore born with far different prospects.
The date of his birth is unknown, i t may have been in 1420 or 1422, or two or three years later. He served with credit in the French wars under the great Talbot, was with him at the relief of Bordeaux, and at the fatal battle of Chatillon, July 20, 1453, and himself received a severe wound there, but managed to escape to Bordeaux. The next year or the next but one he was supported by the Mowbray interest for the representation of the county of Norfolk against Sir Henry Grey, who was favoured by the Earl of Oxford, the husband of his cousin, Elizabeth Howard. As Mowbray had espoused the Yorkist side against Queen Margaret of Anjou's favourites, this proves that John Howard had thrown in his lot with the Duke of York's party, the De Veres havine° enlisted on the Queen's side. At the battle of Towton, March 29, 1461, the Earl of Oxford and his son Aubrey were taken prisoners, attainted in the Parliament held that year, and beheaded on Tower Hill on the 20th of February following. The conduct of Sir John Howard, for he had been at an early period knighted, was most generous to- wards the widowed Countess. Probably throu8h the influence he had already obtained with Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the latter was persuaded to accept the office of trustee of her estate, and thus the free enjoyment of the income of it was secured to the Countess. The attainder of the De Veres was also in 1464 reversed, and her son John put in possession of his honours and estate. We find Sir John Howard paying visits to her and her son, and supply- ing her with money, and he seems to have managed her property for her. The young Earl, however, could not resist joining the Lancastrians again in 1470, escaped from the battle of Barnet, and shared the fortunes of Queen Margaret and the young Earl of 'Richmond till the battle of Bosworth, in which be commanded the archers who formed the vanguard of Richmond's army, and accord- ing to one account himself slew his. relative, John Howard, then Duke of Norfolk. The rise of the Latter after the accession of Edward IV. had been rapid. Immediately after the battle of Towton the King appointed him to a place of constant attendance on his person, and made him Sheriff of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and Constable of the castles of Norwich, Colchester, and Harwich, so that with his own estates near Lynn, the manage- ment of the Countess of Oxford's, his influence at Ipswich through his residence at Tend ring Hall, and the direction given him by John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, of his vast property in these two counties, Sir John Howard attained to a 'very considerable position. King Edward also in the same year granted him in special tail some of the forfeited manors of James Butler, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, and the next year he was appointed with Lords Frdconbridge and Clinton to keep the seas, with a fleet and 10,000 men, and landing in Brittany they took the town of Conquet, and made themselves masters of the Isle of Rhe on the coast of Poictou. A few years afterwards Howard was made Master of the Wardrobe, and Treasurer of the Household in 1468, the latter appointment being in reward for his prudent management of an embassy. that year to Louis XI. of France in behalf of Francis, Duke of Brittany; and at the same time lie had a grant of the whole benefit that should accrue to the King by coinage of money in the City and Tower of London or elsewhere in the realm of England, so long as he should continue in the office of Treasurer. The same year he attended the Lady Margaret, the King's sister, into Flanders, to be married to the Duke of Burgundy. He was also created a Baron by summons or patent, but when we do. not know,—October 15, 1470, is the first date of summons given by Nicolas,—but in his appointment to the embassy to France, 30th Novem- ber, 1467, he is styled " Julies Howard, Miles, Dominus de Howard," so that his elevation must be assigned to some earlier date. Howard bad been already twice married, first, in 1442 or 1443, to Catherine, daughter of William Lord Molines, and secondly, in 1466, to Margaret, daughter of Sir John Chedworth. By the first marriage he had an only son, Thomas, born in 1444, the future hero of Flodden, who was now the com- panion of his father in all his enterprises. Ile is mentioned on his monument as having been with King Edward in his expedition against the Lincolnshire rebels, and also at Banbury fight,—i. e., Edgecote Field,—where the lierberts suffered so disastrous a defeat. Thomas Iloward is also said (on the same tablet) to have been with the King during his captivity 'to Warwick, and I.illy the herald claims for him to have been an agent in Edward's escape. Some little doubt has been thrown on the part taken by hie father, Lord Howard. We believe, after careful examina- tion, that lie was a consistent Yorkist who only submitted to Warwick in deference to Edward's own command, and was never trusted by the Kingmaker. The instant Edward re-appeared in England he proclaimed him in Suffolk, and his son Thomas was present. and sorely wounded, says his monument, at Barnet, and on the success of the expedition the father roan to a pinnacle of favour. King Edward at once nominated him Deputy-Governor of Calais and the adjacent marches under Lord Hastings, and Sir John Paston in a letter of September 13, 1471, reports that "the Lords Hastings and Howard be at Calais, and have it peaceably." From this time we find Howard employed constantly by the restored King in all his enterprises and-negotiations. In 1475 ho was with him in the invasiot of France,'which King Louis bought oft by a yearly pension of 50,000 crowns to Edward, and a pension of 16,000 crowns among his principal attendants, Hastings, Howard, St. Leger, Montgomery, the Marquis of Dorset, and others, and "a fair debauch° " and free quarters to the whole army. Besides this, according to Commines, King Louis made large presents to Hastings, Howard, arid-others, and he declares that Howard received in less than two years' space in money and plate 24,000 crowns. Howard also received many forfeited manors from his own King, and in the 18th of his reign was appointed Constable of the Tower of London during life, in reversion after the death of John Lord Dudley (which took place four years afterwards). In the 19th -Edward IV. he was appointed Captain-General of a fleet against the Scots with 3,000 men.at-arms. Lord Howard was with King Edward when he declared his son Edward his heir, at his death, and at his funeral, where he bore the King's standard. Oneof the first acts, however, of the Queen Mother's party in the new Government during the absence of the Duke of Gloucester in his Scotch expedition was to deprive Howard of the command of the Tower, and appoint in his steal Lord Rivers. Howard accepted the challenge thus given, and thenceforward devoted himself un- waveringly to Richard's interests. Their interests coincided in one respect at least. Edward IV., on the extinction of the male line of the Mowbrays in January, 1476, had invested his second son, Richard, Duke of York, with the deceased Duke's dignities and titles (Earl of Nottingham, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal, &c.), and on January 15, 1478, betrothed him to Lady Anne Mowbray, the heiress of the late Duke of Norfolk. The young lady died In 1482, and Lord Howard and Lord Berkeley then became the representatives of the Mowbrays. Both these noblemen, it will be observed, became supporters of Richard's usurpation, and on the 28th June, 1483 (immediately after his assumption of the crown), that King renewed the titles of the Mowbrays in their persons (notwithstanding the creations to his nephew), making Berkeley Earl of Nottingham, and Howard Duke of Norfolk and Earl Marshal, with a grant to the latter of 201. annually to himself and his heirs for ever out of the fee-farm rent of the town of Ipswich. On the same day, Thomas Howard, the heir of the new Duke, was created in his own right Earl of Surrey. On the 25th of July the Duke was created Lord Admiral of England, Ireland, and Aquitaine for life, and on the same day obtained a grant in special tail of divers manors and lordships in the counties of Suffolk, Kent, Cambridge, Cornwall, Somerset, and Wilts. The year following lie obtained another grant in special tail of several other manors in different counties. Ho supported Richard actively, and at Bosworth Ile had the centre of Richard's army entrusted to him, consisting of archers, and resembling a "strong for- tified bulwark." The Earl of Oxford commanded the centre of Richmond's army specially opposed to Norfolk, -but his utmost efforts to break this compact body were vain until Lord Stanley charged them suddenly on the flank, and even then, as is well known, amidst the general desertion Richard, Norfolk, and Surrey maintained the fight, and had nearly regained the day when Sir _William Stanley surrounded them with his forces. Whether he fell in personal combat or by an arrow is unknown, but when the day was over John Howard Duke of Norfolk lay dead on the field (August 22, 1485), and his gallant son Surrey was a prisoner in the hands of Henry of Richmond. The Duke's body was carried to Thetford Abbey and there buried. The warning said to have been sent to him before the battle is well known,—
"Jockey of Norfolk be not too bold, For Dickon thy master is bought and sold ;"
but, in the words of an old chronicler, "he regarded more his oath, his honour, and his promise made to King Richard. Like a gentle- man and as a faithful subject to his Prince he absented not him- self from his master, but as he faithfully lived under him, so he manfully died with him." And these words are his best epitaph, for we know too little of his personal character apart from political affairs, and too little even of these, to pass any other judgment. His portrait presents us with a powerful type of face, broad but not high forehead, sunken cheeks and high cheek-bones, aquiline nose, dark curling hair and moustache, a stern searching eye, and alto- gether a rather Italian cast of countenance, differing in a remarkable manner from his father's.
Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, who succeeded him in his claims rather than his titles and estates, was attainted after Bos- worth along with his dead father, and remained a prisoner in the Tower till a singular incident led to his release. In 1487 the Earl of Lincoln, nephew of Edward IV. and Richard III., had raised once more the standard of the House of York, using Lambert Simnel as his stalking-horse. On the 16th of June King Henry and the Earl of Oxford encountered the insurgents at Stoke, and after three hours' doubtful fight entirely defeated them. But the contest shook Henry's throne. The latest writer on that time, Mr. Gairduer, thus describes the conduct of the captive Earl of Surrey on this occasion :—" Rumours were spread in London that the rebels had gained the day, and the Lieutenant of the Tower offered the keys of his prison to the Earl of Surrey. Nor does it seem an unwarrantable belief that had the captive nobleman availed himself of the opportunity the reign of Henry might have been as short as his predecessor's. But of Richard III. it must at least be said that he had not ennobled the Howards unworthily. The Earl answered with a spirit worthy of the best days of chivalry that he would not accept his liberty from his gaoler, he would remain till the King who had ordered him to confinement should order him again to freedom. The story is that Surrey charged the Lieutenant if the King should survive the battle to bring him to his presence, that he might offer his allegiance, and Henry, who had seen good proof of his fidelity to Richard M., saw at once that be might be depended on. Surrey was released from the Tower. Ten weeks later occurred the great rebellion in the North, when the Earl of Northumberland was slain. The King, who like his son had a fine eye for a man, assembled an army and made Surrey captain, placing under him the Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord Hastings, and even Sir William Stanley, to whom he had so greatly owed his success at Bosworth. Shortly afterwards he made him Lieutenant-General of the North and Warden of the East and Middle Marches against Scotland. He thus committed to his care the whole country north of the Trent, and an office of greater responsibility he could not have conferred on any one. Surrey had not only to protect this great region against the continual invasions of the Scots, but to keep in due subjection the inhabitants themselves, whose disaffec- tion appears long to have remained smouldering, and broke out in a new rebellion in the spring of 1492. It was quelled by Surrey in a battle fought at Ackworth, near Pomfret," of which battle,—such is the state of our knowledge of those days,—we should have been entirely ignorant but for a monumental inscription confirmed by a chance allusion in the " Plumpton Correspondence." In 1489 Thomas Howard was formally restored to the Earldom of Surrey, and to all those lands which were of his wife's inheritance. This wife (his first) was Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Frederick Tylney, of Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk, and widow of Humphrey Bour- chier, Lord Berners, killed at Barnet field on the York side. She is the ancestress of the Norfolk, Suffolk, Carlisle, and Corby branches of the Howards. In the 12th Henry VII, he was appointed with Richard Fox, Bishop of Durham, to treat with the Scotch Com- missioners for the marriage of the Princess Margaret with James IV. of Scotland, the marriage from which proceeded the claims of the House of Stuart to the English throne. The next year he relieved Norham Castle, the Scots retiring on his approach. Surrey pursued them into Scotland, and after taking the Castle of Aytoun re-entered England. In 1498 Surrey was one of the temporal peers called together by the King to ratify the peace with France. In the 15th Henry VII. be made partition with Maurice Berkeley of the Mowbray property. On June 25, 1501, he was appointed Lord Trea- surer of England. As Treasurer he forwarded discoveries in America and checked the debasement of the coinage. In the 17th year of this reign he was again a commissioner to negotiate the Scotch marriage, and the negotiations succeeded at last. The Royal bride being conducted by her father as far as Collweston, in North- amptonshire, was there delivered by him to the care of Surrey, who conducted her with great magnificence to her husband, whom he was afterwards to meet in a very different fashion. Henry VIII. followed his father's example in showing favour to Surrey. On the 28th of July, in the 1st year of his reign, he renewed his patent of Lord Treasurer, and employed him with Bishop Fox in arranging several treaties with foreign princes. The next year he was constituted Earl Marshal for life, and in the 5th Henry VIII., when the King undertook his Terouenne and Tournay expedition to France, he left Surrey in England to defend the North against the Scots, ordering him to draw towards that quarter, and constituting him Lieutenant of the North, with power to raise and command the forces of the northern counties, and when he embarked at Dover Henry took the Earl by the hand, saying, " My Lord, I trust not the Scots, therefore I pray you be not negligent." To which Surrey replied, " I shall so do my duty that your Grace shall find me diligent, and to fulfil your will shall be my gladness." Hall, who went over with the King, says the Earl could scarcely speak when he took his leave he was so concerned at being left behind, and said to some that were about him, " Sorry should he be if he did not see the King of Scots that was the cause of his abiding behind ; and if ever they met, he should do that in him lieth to make him as sorry or die." He then returned to London, comforted the Queen, and sending for his gentlemen and tenants, " 500 able men," rode through London the next day (July 21, 1518), and proceeded to Pomfret, where he mustered the men of the North, and sent to the Captain of Norhain Castle offering to succour hitn if he was in any danger. The Captain, however, assured him of his capacity to hold the King of Scots in play, but was com- pelled nevertheless to surrender to the assault of King James. On this Surrey summoned his army to meet him at Newcastle on the 1st of September, to the number of 26,000 men, and appointed his eldest son Thomas, who was Lord Admiral, to come by sea and meet him near Alnwick, which he did on the 4th September, bring- ing 1,000 additional men. The tale of Flodden Field hasbeen too often and too well told to require repetition. The fight took place on September 9, 1513, and resulted as is well known in the entire overthrow and destruction of the Scotch army, their• King and principal nobles being left dead on the field. All the Howards, Surrey and his two sons, Thomas and Edmund, fought gallantly, and by their side ou this 'occasion a Stanley, Sir Edward, the ancestor of the present Earl of Derby. King Henry received the welcome tidings of the victory when before Tourney on September 25th, and, says Hall, " highly praised the Earl, and the Lord Admiral his son, and all that were in that warlike enterprise.' But Henry did not confine himself to words. The Earl had a special grant to himself and the heirs male of his body of an honourable augmentation of his arms, and on the 1st of February following (1514) he was restored to the dignity of Duke of Norfolk, the ceremony of his creation being performed at Lam- beth the following day. At the same time he surrendered his title of Earl of Surrey " for the term of the life of his son" Thomas, who was then at once created Earl of Surrey for life. By other letters patent, also bearing date February 1, the Duke had a grant in special tail of the manors of Acton Burnel, Holgat, Abeton, Millenchop, Langdon, Chatwall, Smithcote, Wolstan- ton, Uppington, and ltushbury, in Shopshire ; Solihull, in War- wickshire ; Wolverhampton, in Staffordshire ; Birehuret and Upton Lovel, in Wilts ; Erdescote, in Berks ; Homesdon, Estwike, Barley, and Hide, in Herta ; Kentcote and Kerdwike, in Oxford- shire ; East Wickham, in Kent ; the castles of Bolsover and Horsedon, and manor of Horsley, in Derbyshire ; and the manors of Clipston, Limby, Mansfield-Woodhouse, and Sutton-in-Ashfield, in Notts, to be held by the service of one knight's fee. The Howards had finally won the game. It had taken two generations of them to secure the position won originally by a marriage, and in the whole history of the English peerage there is no passage more brilliant than that struggle of seventy years. In an age of universal treachery, and with a stake at issue enough to crush any ordinary virtue, the two Howards deliberately preferred their honour as gentlemen to their position as nobles, flung titles and estates away rather than submit to a " transaction" sanctioned by the example
of a Stanley, and won back with the sword while defending Eng- land all they had lost by their fi lelity to the House of York. Strangely enough it was given to their House once more to play fur the Tudors the part they had played for the Yorkists, and a Howard repaid the grace of Henry the VIII. by handing back to his daughter a throne. It was a Howard who won Flodden, a Howard who defeated the Armada, and to such services the blood of the Bohuns, the Mowbrays, or the Plantagenets can add nothing.