The Earl of Northampton
|First Lord of the Treasury|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Salisbury|
|Succeeded by||The Viscount Brackley|
|Lord Privy Seal|
|Preceded by||The Earl of Salisbury|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Somerset|
|Born||25 February 1540|
|Died||15 June 1614 (aged 74)|
|Parents|| Henry Howard,Earl of Surrey |
Frances de Vere
Henry Howard,1st Earl of Northampton KG (25 February 1540 –15 June 1614) was an important English aristocrat and courtier. He was suspect as a crypto-Catholic throughout his life,and went through periods of royal disfavour,in which his reputation suffered greatly. He was distinguished for learning,artistic culture and his public charities. He built Northumberland House in London and superintended the construction of the fine house of Audley End. He founded and planned several hospitals. Francis Bacon included three of his sayings in his Apophthegms,and chose him as "the learnedest councillor in the kingdom to present to the king his Advancement of Learning." After his death,it was discovered that he had been involved in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury.
He was born at Shottesham,Norfolk,on 25 February 1540,the second son of Henry Howard,Earl of Surrey,the poet,and of his wife,the former Lady Frances de Vere,daughter of the 15th Earl of Oxford. He was the younger brother of the 4th Duke of Norfolk,and uncle of Thomas Howard,Earl of Arundel. On the execution of his father in January 1547 he and his brother and sisters were entrusted to the care of his aunt,Mary FitzRoy,Duchess of Richmond and Somerset,who employed John Foxe as their tutor. With Foxe,Howard remained at Reigate,a manor belonging to the children's grandfather,Thomas Howard,the 3rd Duke of Norfolk,throughout Edward VI's reign. On Mary's accession the Duke of Norfolk was released from prison,and he dismissed Foxe.
Afterwards Henry Howard studied with John White,Bishop of Lincoln;when White was translated to Winchester in 1556,Henry went with him. While with White,Howard read largely in philosophy,civil law,divinity,and history,and seems to have acquired a strong sympathy with Roman Catholicism. On Mary's death and Queen Elizabeth's accession,White was deprived of his bishopric,and Elizabeth undertook the charge of Howard's education. He was restored in blood 8 May 1559,following a Bill in the House of Lords in April that year.At the queen's expense he proceeded to King's College,Cambridge,where he graduated M. A. in 1564. He afterwards joined Trinity Hall,read Latin lectures on rhetoric and civil law in public,and applied to a friend in London for a master to teach him the lute. Subsequently,in 1568 he was incorporated M.A.,at Oxford.
He protested in 1568 to Lord Burghley that his religious views were needlessly suspected,and wrote a treatise on natural and moral philosophy for his youngest sister,Catharine,wife of Henry Berkeley,7th Baron Berkeley,dated from Trinity Hall 6 August 1569;she supported him in some hard times. It was rumoured that he contemplated taking holy orders in the vague hope of succeeding Thomas Young as Archbishop of York. He came to court about 1570 at a low ebb,but the intrigues of which his brother,the Duke of Norfolk,was suspected at the time further depressed his prospects. When in 1572 Norfolk was charged with conspiring to marry Mary,Queen of Scots,Banister,Norfolk's confidential agent,declared in his confession that Henry Howard was himself first proposed as husband. He was arrested,but,after repeated examinations,established his innocence to Elizabeth's satisfaction,was readmitted to court,and was granted a yearly pension. It was generally reported,however,that he had by bad advice brought about his brother's ruin.
After the execution of the Duke,Howard retired to Audley End,and directed the education of his brother's children. He tried by frequent letters to Burghley and to Christopher Hatton to keep himself in favour with the queen's ministers,and managed to offer satisfactory explanations when it was reported in 1574 that he was exchanging tokens with Mary,Queen of Scots. He supplied her for many years with political information,but,according to his own account,gave her prudent advice. Howard sought to regain Elizabeth's favour by grossly flattering her in long petitions. About 1580 he circulated a manuscript tract in support of the scheme for the marriage of Elizabeth with François,Duke of Anjou,in answer to John Stubbe's Discoverie of a Gaping Gulf (1579),and at Burghley's request began a reply to a pamphlet denouncing female government,which he completed in 1589. In 1582 his cousin Edward de Vere,17th Earl of Oxford,quarrelled with him,and revived the charges of heresy and of treasonable correspondence with Mary. He was again arrested,and defended himself at length in a letter to Elizabeth,in which he admitted that he had taken part in Roman Catholic worship owing to conscientious difficulties on the sacramentary,but denied that he could win Mary Stuart's favour. He was soon set free,and,retiring to St. Albans,spent a year (1582–3) in writing his Preservative against the Poison of supposed Prophecies,a learned attack on judicial astrology,dedicated to Francis Walsingham,and said to have been suggested by the astrological exploits of Richard Harvey. The book was suspected of apparent heresies and concealed treason,and in 1583,after the discovery of the Throckmorton Plot,Howard was sent to the Fleet Prison. He complained to Hatton of harsh treatment. Mary,it was now asserted,had sent him a ring with a message. Burghley declined to intervene in his behalf,but by the favour of Burghley's son Robert Cecil he was sent on parole to the house of Sir Nicholas Bacon at Redgrave,Suffolk. On 19 July 1585 he wrote from there to Burghley,begging permission to visit the wells at Warwick for the benefit of his health.He was said to have travelled in Italy,visiting Florence and Rome. In 1587 his repeated requests to take an active part in resisting the threatened Spanish attack were refused. He was at the time without any means of livelihood,except his irregularly-paid pension.
He attached himself both to Lord Essex and to Robert Cecil,and through the influence of the latter was in 1600 again received by Elizabeth. At the close of the Queen's reign he joined with Cecil in courting James VI,the heir to the English throne who was reigning in Scotland (in fact James suggested Howard as a trusted intermediary with Cecil).James sent him a jewel with three precious stones including a ruby. Howard sent long letters of advice,which James termed "Asiatic and endless volumes". He had success in intriguing against Sir Walter Raleigh and other rivals. On James's accession in 1603,Howard received a multitude of favours.
In 1603 he was made a Privy Counsellor,on 1 January 1604 Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports,and on 13 March Earl of Northampton and Baron Marnhull,of Marnhull in the County of Dorset;on 24 February 1605 he was given the Garter and on 29 April was appointed Lord Privy Seal. In 1609 he was elected High Steward of the University of Oxford,and in 1612 Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. The same year he was appointed one of the Commissioners of the Treasury. He was one of the judges at the trials of Walter Raleigh and Lord Cobham in 1603,of Guy Fawkes in 1605,and of Henry Garnet in 1606,in each case pressing for a conviction. In 1604 he was one of the commissioners who composed the treaty of peace with Spain,and from that date he received from the Spanish Court a pension of £1000.In 1604,Howard called playwright Ben Jonson before the Privy Council,accusing him of popery and treason in Sejanus . In 1610 he received a royal grant of territory in Newfoundland,and the London and Bristol Company (Newfoundland Company) was set up around him for its commercial exploitation. However,In January 1608 Northampton was out of favour with Anne of Denmark and sought a recipe from the Earl of Mar to restore his position.
He assisted his great-niece,Lady Essex,in obtaining her divorce from her husband (son of the 2nd Earl of Essex whom Northampton had followed in the 1590s) in order to marry the favourite Somerset,whose mistress she already was.While Northampton may have treated this as routine intrigue,the outcome was a major murder scandal. Both Northampton and her father Thomas Howard,1st Earl of Suffolk represented her in an interview with Essex held at Whitehall in May 1613,in the hope of obtaining his assent to a divorce. Essex proved uncompliant,and Northampton contrived that the case should be brought before a special commission. When,however,the divorce was obtained,Somerset's intimate acquaintance,Sir Thomas Overbury,dissuaded him from pursuing the project of marriage with Lady Frances. Northampton recommended,on slender grounds,Overbury's imprisonment in the Tower of London,and contrived that a friend of the Howard family,Sir Gervase Helwys,should be appointed Lord Lieutenant of the Tower. Helwys frequently wrote to Northampton about Overbury's conduct and health. In his extant letters to Helwys Northampton writes with contempt of Overbury and expresses a desire that his own name should not be mentioned in connection with his imprisonment,but he introduced to Helwys John Craig,one of the royal physicians,to report on the prisoner's health. Overbury died in September,1613. When the matter was judicially investigated,after Northampton too had died,his political enemies credited him with a direct hand in the murder. Overbury had died from the effects of poison administered by the direction of Lady Essex.
He advised against the summoning of Parliament in 1614,and then fomented disputes to compel James to dissolve it. He died unmarried on 15 June 1614 and was buried in the chapel of Dover Castle;the monument erected above his grave was subsequently removed to the chapel at Trinity Hospital,Greenwich. His title became extinct at his death. His will,in phrasing that has been considered equivocal,can be reasonably interpreted to imply that he died a Roman Catholic.
He was the author of:
He enlarged Greenwich Castle (on the site of the Royal Observatory,Greenwich),and his London residence,afterwards Northumberland House,was built at his cost from the designs of Moses Glover. He supervised John Thorpe's designs for Audley End,the residence of his nephew Suffolk. He planned and endowed three hospitals:Trinity Hospital at Clun,Shropshire;Trinity Hospital at Castle Rising,Norfolk,for twelve poor women; and a third Trinity Hospital at Greenwich,later called Norfolk College,for twelve poor natives of Greenwich,and for eight natives of Shottesham,Northampton's birthplace. He laid the foundation-stone of the college at Greenwich,25 February 1614,and placed its management under the Mercers' Company. His connection to the Mercers was principally through Lionel Cranfield.
During the funeral of Anne of Denmark in May 1619,a large stone letter 'S' fell from the battlements of the frontispiece of Northampton House on the procession,killing one William Appleyard. According to Nathaniel Brent,the stone was "thrust down by a gentlewoman who put her foot against it,not thinking it had been so brickle [brittle]".
Edward de Vere,17th Earl of Oxford was an English peer and courtier of the Elizabethan era. Oxford was heir to the second oldest earldom in the kingdom,a court favourite for a time,a sought-after patron of the arts,and noted by his contemporaries as a lyric poet and court playwright,but his volatile temperament precluded him from attaining any courtly or governmental responsibility and contributed to the dissipation of his estate.
William Cecil,1st Baron Burghley was an English statesman,the chief adviser of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign,twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572. In his description in the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition,Albert Pollard wrote,"From 1558 for forty years the biography of Cecil is almost indistinguishable from that of Elizabeth and from the history of England."
Elizabeth is a 1998 British biographical period drama film directed by Shekhar Kapur and written by Michael Hirst. It stars Cate Blanchett in the title role of Elizabeth I of England,with Geoffrey Rush,Christopher Eccleston,Joseph Fiennes,John Gielgud,and Richard Attenborough in supporting roles. The film is based on the early years of Elizabeth's reign,where she is elevated to the throne after the death of her half-sister Mary I,who had imprisoned her. As she establishes herself on the throne,she faces plots and threats to take her down.
Sir Thomas Overbury was an English poet and essayist,also known for being the victim of a murder which led to a scandalous trial. His poem A Wife,which depicted the virtues that a young man should demand of a woman,played a large role in the events that precipitated his murder.
Thomas Howard,3rd Duke of Norfolk,was a prominent English politician and nobleman of the Tudor era. He was an uncle of two of the wives of King Henry VIII,namely Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard,both of whom were beheaded,and played a major role in the machinations affecting these royal marriages. After falling from favour in 1546,he was stripped of his Dukedom and imprisoned in the Tower of London,avoiding execution when Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547.
Thomas Howard,4th Duke of Norfolk,was an English nobleman and politician. Although from a family with strong Catholic leanings,he was raised a Protestant. He was a second cousin of Queen Elizabeth I through her maternal grandmother,and held many high offices during her reign.
Robert Carr,1st Earl of Somerset,was a politician,and favourite of King James VI and I.
Thomas Howard,14th Earl of Arundel KG,was a prominent English courtier during the reigns of King James I and King Charles I,but he made his name as a Grand Tourist and art collector rather than as a politician. When he died he possessed 700 paintings,along with large collections of sculpture,books,prints,drawings,and antique jewellery. Most of his collection of marble carvings,known as the Arundel marbles,was eventually left to the University of Oxford.
Thomas Howard,1st Earl of Suffolk,was a son of Thomas Howard,4th Duke of Norfolk by his second wife Margaret Audley,Duchess of Norfolk,the daughter and heiress of the 1st Baron Audley of Walden.
Henry FitzRoy,Duke of Richmond and Somerset,,was the son of King Henry VIII of England and his mistress,Elizabeth Blount,and the only child born out of wedlock whom Henry VIII acknowledged. He was the younger half-brother of Queen Mary I,as well as the older half-brother of Queen Elizabeth I and King Edward VI. Through his mother,he was the elder half-brother of the 4th Baroness Tailboys of Kyme and of the 2nd and 3rd Barons Tailboys of Kyme. He was named FitzRoy,which is derived from the Norman French term for "son of the king".
Henry Herbert,2nd Earl of PembrokeKG was a Welsh nobleman,peer and politician of the Elizabethan era.
Frances Carr,Countess of Somerset,born Frances Howard,was an English noblewoman who was the central figure in a famous scandal and murder during the reign of King James I. She was found guilty but spared execution,and was eventually pardoned by the King and released from the Tower of London in early 1622.
Lord William Howard was an English nobleman and antiquary,sometimes known as "Belted or Bauld (bold) Will".
Sir William Wade was an English statesman and diplomat,and Lieutenant of the Tower of London.
William Parr,1st Marquess of Northampton,1st Earl of Essex,1st Baron Parr,was the only brother of Queen Catherine Parr,the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII. He was a "sincere,plain,direct man,not crafty nor involved",whose "delight was music and poetry and his exercise war" who co-authored a treatise on hare coursing. He was in favour with the first two successive Protestant Tudor monarchs,Henry VIII and his son Edward VI,under whom he was the leader of the Protestant party,but having supported the desire of the latter to be succeeded by the Protestant Lady Jane Grey,was attainted by the Catholic Queen Mary,but was restored by her half-sister and Protestant successor Queen Elizabeth I. He married thrice but died without issue.
Thomas Wentworth,2nd Baron Wentworth was an English peer,courtier,administrator and military commander during the reigns of Edward VI,Mary and Elizabeth. His reputation suffered through the surrender of Calais in 1558,which occurred under his command.
Knollys,Knolles or Knowles,the name of an English family descended from Sir Thomas Knollys,Lord Mayor of London,possibly a kinsman of the celebrated general Sir Robert Knolles. The next distinguished member of the family was Sir Francis Knollys or Knowles,English statesman,son of Sir Robert Knollys,or Knolles,a courtier in the service and favour of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Robert had also a younger son,Sir Henry,who took part in public life during the reign of Elizabeth I and who died in 1583. From the time of Sir Francis,the family were associated with Greys Court at Rotherfield Greys and Caversham Park,then in Oxfordshire,as well as the nearby town of Reading in Berkshire,where the family's private chapel could once be seen in the church of St Laurence.
Jane Neville,Countess of Westmorland,was an English noblewoman.
Lady Elizabeth Stafford was an English aristocrat. She was the eldest daughter of Edward Stafford,3rd Duke of Buckingham and Lady Eleanor Percy. By marriage she became Duchess of Norfolk. Her abusive marriage to Thomas Howard,3rd Duke of Norfolk,created a public scandal.
Sir Gervase Helwys,also known as Jervis Yelwys,was a Lieutenant of the Tower of London found guilty of complicity in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury and hanged in 1615. The scandal provoked much public and literary conjecture and irreparably tarnished King James I's court with an image of corruption and depravity. There are variations in the spelling of Helwys:Helwis,Helwiss,Helewyse,Helwysse,Yelwys,Ellowis,Elwys,Elwis,Elvis,Elwes,and Elwaies.