Anne Boleyn’s grandfather? Or John Howard’s son….!

I prefer to think of the 2nd (Howard) Duke of Norfolk as the great John Howard’s son…Anne Boleyn, fascinating as she was, is not of such great interest to devotees of the House of York, and Richard III in particular.

John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, was, of course, killed at Bosworth, and Thomas Howard (then Earl of Surrey and the subject of this new book) was captured. He eventually bit the proverbial bullet (or whatever a magnate of the period would have bitten) and served Henry Tudor, albeit without all the lands and influence his father had enjoyed.

He was a survivor, there’s no doubt about that, and he now has his own biography. I have yet to read it, so cannot comment on the book itself, but I can draw attention to it as of probable interest to readers of this blog.

To read more, go to this EADT article

The book is The Man Behind the Tudors, by Kirsten Claiden Yardley, and is published by Pen & Sword History at £19.99



  1. As an admirer of that great man Thomas Howard duke of Norfolk who died fighting for his king at Bosworth I am very, very disappointed in the way the Howards that followed him turned out,..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ll be happy to read this on Lord Howard’s son, especially as he was so integral to Richard’s time as Protector and his reign; there are few enough in-depth materials on his father and none on his heir that I know of so I welcome this – we will see whether or not the author does justice to her Subject.

      Anne Crawford wrote an acceptable ‘biography’ of John Howard recently (she trims quite a bit in areas I would prefer more depth, but then, that is my own complaint), and Robert Hutchinson wrote about the Rise and Fall of a “Tudor Dynasty” – meaning the Howards, which you may want to read as well. And of course John Ashdown-Hill wrote one you may already be familiar with (ie. Richard’s ‘Beloved Cousyn’ etc from 2009; also recommended).

      As to the Howards and their ‘disappointing’ post-Bosworth conduct, in their defense I would suggest they were NO longer living in a country ruled by the norms of Yorkist governance, indeed – beginning with H7, even before the dust settled at Bosworth, England became the first true police state unlike anything in Europe, not even Louis XI, who kept his ‘eyes and ears’ in everyone’s business, had such complete control of the peerage (meaning the landed families who had the means and income to raise personal retinues – which H7 clearly saw as a threat to himself and his nonexistent claim to the throne). One has to wait for Napoleon before you have such an airtight hold over both those in power and those who can be raised to power as you see with H7.

      I’ve read that bonds “disabled the 62 peerage families” that lived during H7’s reign, and 46 of those were at his mercy – 7 were under attainder, 36 “bound by obligations and recognisances,” another 5 were heavily fined and 3 more under “constraint’ which meant only 16 were ‘safe’ from H’s informers, dungeons, tax collectors, lawyers, etc. I’ve tried to figure out who these ‘safe’ families were, I’m going to hazard a guess that they were his immediate family and the few English supporters that were with him for Bosworth – the French, Breton and other foreign military troops that had been paid for (partly by his mother, and partly by France’s regent, Anne de Beaujeu, who ruled in lieu of her brother, Charles VIII) – So far I have on this list: Jasper Tudor, Edward Stafford (3rd duke of Buckingham, later ex. by H8), George Talbot earl of Shrewsbury (this is the ward that Richard allowed to remain with R’s cousin, Katherine Neville, after Lord Hastings was ex. for his part in the Tower plot 13 June 1483; had he attainted Hastings this ward would have been a highly coveted one for some supporter), also Dudley, Empson, John de Vere, Hungerford, Bray, Daubeney, obviously the Stanleys, maybe Henry Percy (4th earl of Northumberland, until he was murdered in York, the ONLY one killed in the commotion, trying to enforce H7’s new taxes – or – killed in retribution for failing Richard at Bosworth), also John Welles, hmm, maybe Henry Clifford, a couple of the Willoughbys… gets me to 14 I think.

      Anyway, H7 had England by the throat, Thomas Howard (his son) ONLY kept the numerous family members OUT of the Tower – and got any of their estates back by WINNING Flodden for the Tudors – 1513 – for which his father (subject of the new book) was created Duke of Norfolk… NOT by H7 but H8. Had to wait a long time and had to give the Tudors a massive victory over the Scots.

      One thing that has continually surprised me is that these families continually intermarry – I suppose that they had to – Lord Howard’s grandson, the 3rd duke, married Anne of York (dt of E4), and another grandson will marry Henry Buckingham’s heir (Edward, 3rd duke of Buckingham), while Henry’s other son, married Ursula Pole, daughter of Margaret of Warwick (ex. by H8) … not to forget, Buckingham’s heir (ES3dB) was married to Eleanor Percy – yup, daughter of Henry, the 4th earl who failed Richard. I suspect that prior Yorkists, or even those somewhat connected to E4 or R3 had limited access to non-Yorkist marriageable peers?

      Here’s a last tidbit, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (‘Father of the English Sonnet’) is also the last known victim to be executed by H8 – among his children, one married a Neville (6th earl of Westmoreland, that is the Stafford side of old Ralph Neville’s MANY children), another married a Scrope, another Henry Berkeley (7th Baron), and his heir was the 4th duke (married first a FitzAlan)… THIS Henry married Frances de Vere (see her lovely Holbein drawing, she was a daughter of the 15th earl of Oxford but not the John de Vere we know, that was the 13th and he did not leave legitimate issue).

      I have also read that the Howard family kept a portrait of Richard III (I believe it was at Kenninghall) for years – as the progenitor of their title (when Henry Howard was executed the Howards lost both Framlingham and Kennington, both were thoroughly, I’ll say relieved, of their contents. If a portrait of Richard was there I’d love to know if anyone has heard of this (or where it ended up, IF it survived!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I may be mistaken as to others but I have always been interested in the Howards because their secondary title as Earl of Norfolk was originally created for Thomas of Brotherton, eldest son of Edward I’s second marriage, making them the only title holder in the present day nobility that is inherited from a title created for a Plantagenet son.

    (The Dukes of Beaufort are descended from a Plantagenet but the title arose in Tudor times and not the son of a monarch).

    (Weird thing about the Plantagenets. Other than Henry Crouchback and the two sons of Edward III whose descendants slaughtered each other in the Wars of the Roses I cannot think of any other Plantagenet younger son who ever had a male grandson. Compare with the Capets and Hapsburgs who always had secondary lines floating around).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. those ‘floating lines’ (great turn of phrase) managed to turn on each other, generation after generation, and often it was beyond ugly, often it was reduced to assassination, rumours of poison (always with Louis XI), exile, lovers ruthlessly exposed and executed … the French royals were a nest of vipers

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  3. I checked this title out and am now up to 1484. So far I’d recommend it; the author writes well and did serious research right back to the origin of this Howard line. Speculations because of gaps in the historical record — of which there are plenty in the 15th century! — are identified and sensible.

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  4. Havel been reading 2 books about Francis Lovell: “Lovell Our Dogge” by Michele Schindler and “Last Champin of York” by Stephen David. Schindler is pro-Richard, David anti. Schindler speculates a lot, especially about Lovell’s inter-personal relationships, but clearly labels such as speculation. David does not speculate, but omits mention of his sisters, not even including a family tree. Which one strikes you as more honest and the better scholar?
    Also “Dogge” has larger print!

    Haven’t read this bio of Thomas Howard yet, but it is on my list.


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