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The Duke of Norfolk
Earl Marshal
In office
1672 – 13 January 1684
Preceded byIn Commission
Succeeded byThe 7th Duke of Norfolk
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
13 December 1677 – 13 January 1684
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 5th Duke of Norfolk
Succeeded byThe 7th Duke of Norfolk
Personal details
Born(1628-07-12)12 July 1628
Arundel House, London, England
Died13 January 1684(1684-01-13) (aged 55)
Arundel House, London, England
Resting placeArundel Castle, Arundel, West Sussex
Spouse(s)Lady Anne Somerset
Jane Bickerton
ChildrenHenry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk
Frances de Andía-Irarrazaval, Marchioness of Valparaiso
Lord Thomas Howard
Lord George Howard
Lord James Howard
Lord Frederick Henry Howard
Lady Catherine Howard
Elizabeth Gordon, Duchess of Gordon
Lady Philippa Howard
Parent(s)Henry Howard, 22nd Earl of Arundel
Lady Elizabeth Stuart

Henry Howard (12 July 1628 – 13 January 1684), 6th Duke of Norfolk, was an English nobleman and politician. He was the second son of Henry Howard, 22nd Earl of Arundel, and Lady Elizabeth Stuart. He succeeded his brother Thomas Howard, 5th Duke of Norfolk, after Thomas's death in 1677.


Henry Howard's older brother Thomas contracted a fever while visiting their grandfather Thomas in Padua in 1645 that subsequently left him mentally disabled and unable to administer his own affairs. There was near unanimity in the House of Lords in persuading King Charles II to revive the Dukedom of Norfolk for the Howard family in 1660 but, as this descended from Henry's great-great-grandfather Thomas to his brother Thomas who was still confined to an asylum in Padua, Henry managed the duchy's affairs in his name.

Following the Great Fire of London in 1666, Henry Howard allowed the Royal Society to meet regularly at Arundel House.[1] Having befriended John Evelyn, he followed Evelyn's guidance to provide some of his grandfather's Grecian statues to Oxford University, principally to get them out of the corrosive London air.[1] He further agreed to bestow his grandfather's collection of manuscripts to the Royal Society, but it initially remained at Arundel House for want of a dedicated library elsewhere.[1]

It being felt desirable to be able to summon Henry to the Lords in his own right, he was created 1st Baron Howard of Castle Rising in 1669 and 1st Earl of Norwich in 1672, on the latter occasion obtaining the restoration of the office of Earl Marshal of England to him and to his family.[2] Henry's career in the Lords began inauspiciously when he announced that he had married Jane Bickerton, who had been his mistress for many years. This caused a violent family quarrel, as a result of which he went abroad for a time. Nonetheless, he wielded considerable political influence and in 1673 was able to find a safe seat in Parliament for Samuel Pepys.

After succeeding to the duchy on his brother Thomas's death in 1677, he began to transfer his manuscript collection to Gresham College for the Royal Society but—having become Earl Marshal in the interim—he also granted a large number of works to the library of the College of Arms overseen by that position.[3] The two separate collections are still preserved as the Arundel Manuscripts.

In January 1678, he took his seat in the House of Lords, but in August the first development of the Popish Plot was followed by an Act for disabling Catholics from sitting in either house of Parliament. As a sincere Roman Catholic, he would not comply with the oath recognizing the King as Head of the Church; at the same time he urged his fellow peers to do so if their consciences permitted, to ensure the survival of the House of Lords as an institution, whereupon the Lords thanked him for his "good service". He withdrew to Bruges for three years. There he built a house attached to a Franciscan convent and enjoyed freedom of worship. He later gave away the greater part of his library, grounds, and rooms to the Royal Society, and the Arundelian marbles to Oxford University.

He was presented as a recusant at Thetford assizes in 1680, and felt obliged to return to England to answer the charge, which was not pursued; a previous accusation by the notorious informer William Bedloe in 1678 that he had been party to, or at least aware of a plot to kill the King, had simply been ignored.

He remained in England long enough to sit as a peer at the trial for treason of his uncle, William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford, a fellow victim of the Popish Plot. Unfortunately for Stafford, who was notoriously "a man not beloved by his family", he had quarrelled with most of his relatives, including Norfolk, and with the exception of Norfolk's eldest son, the future 7th Duke of Norfolk, the eight Howard peers present, including the 6th Duke, voted him Guilty. Stafford was beheaded on 29 December; the Duke does not seem to have interceded for his uncle's life. He returned to Bruges for a time.

With the waning of the hysteria, he felt it safe to return home. John Evelyn in his diary for 9 May 1683 records visiting him to discuss buying some of his artworks, and gives the diarist's very low opinion of the Duchess. From Evelyn's description, it is clear that the Duke then had an impressive collection of "cartoons and drawings of Raphael and the Great Masters".

Marriages and issue

Portrait of Henry Howard by Gilbert Soest, c. 1670–1675. This portrait was once part of the Lenthall collection and is now owned by the Tate Gallery.

About 1652, Howard married Lady Anne Somerset, daughter of Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester, and Elizabeth Dormer. They had at least four children:

His second wife was Jane Bickerton. She had been his mistress for many years prior to the marriage in 1676 or 1677, and its announcement caused a violent quarrel with his eldest son and heir. They had four sons, all of whom died childless, and three daughters:

  • Lady Philippa Howard (1678–1731), married Ralph Standish (died in 1755), who had a daughter
  • Lord George Howard, married but childless
  • Lord James Howard, drowned unmarried in August 1702
  • Lord Frederick Henry Howard (died 16 March 1727), married but childless
  • Lady Catherine Howard, a nun in Flanders.

The peerages created for him died out with his grandson the 9th Duke in 1777, though the current Baron Mowbray descends from the 9th Duke's brother. The 10th and 11th Dukes of Norfolk, who inherited the associated peerages and office of Earl Marshal, descended from his brother Lord Charles Howard of Greystoke, and the 12th and later Dukes from his brother Lord Bernard Howard of Glossop.



Family tree



  1. ^ a b c Young (1829), p. viii.
  2. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Norfolk, Earls and Dukes of" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 744.
  3. ^ Young (1829), p. viii–ix.


External links

2 Annotations

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Henry Howard, 22nd Earl of Arundel, FRS (1628 - 1684) had a difficult life. As a Royalist Catholic, his life in England was always in question. His grandfather died in Italy, his older brother, Thomas, 5th Duke of Norfolk was crazy and kept in obscurity in Italy. But Henry, Lord Howard was also lucky: He married for love twice.

Unfortunately his second wife, Jane Bickerton, was the daughter of a very minor Irish landowner, who used to be a clerk in Charles II's wine cellar.
During the time of Pepys' Diary, Jane and Henry are having a steamy secret affair which resulted in a couple of children.
Both Charles II and John Evelyn warned Henry, Lord Howard to run ... but he didn't/couldn't.
In the 1670 Charles sent him as his Ambassador to Morocco, where he spent July 1669 to October 1670, but when Howard returned he secretly married his Jane.

This really should be a novel. Evelyn doesn't come off well in this version of the story:…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A Letter from a gentleman of the Lord Ambassador [Henry] Howard's retinue, to his friend in London dated at Fez, Nov. 1, 1669 wherein he gives a full relation of the most remarkable passages in their voyage thither, and of the present state of the countries under the power of Taffaletta, emperour of Morocco : with a brief account of the merchandizing commodities of Africa : as also the manners and customs of the people there.” --…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.