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Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk (10 March 1536 — 2 June 1572) was an Englishmarker nobleman.

Norfolk was the son of the poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. He was taught as a child by John Foxe, the Protestant martyrologist, who remained a lifelong recipient of Norfolk's patronage. His father predeceased his grandfather, so Norfolk inherited the Dukedom of Norfolk upon the death of his grandfather, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk in 1554.

Norfolk was a second cousin of Queen Elizabeth I of England through her mother's family and was trusted with public office despite his family's history and (although he claimed to be a Protestant) his prior support for Catholicism.

Marriages and Plots

First wife

Thomas Howard's first wife was Mary FitzAlan, who after the death of her brother Henry in 1556 became heiress to the Arundelmarker Estates of her father Henry FitzAlan, 19th Earl of Arundel. She died after a year of marriage having given birth to a son, Philip Howard, who became 20th Earl of Arundel. It is from this marriage that the present Duke of Norfolk takes his name of 'FitzAlan-Howard' and why his seat is in Arundel. Though her funeral effigy is there, Mary FitzAlan was never buried at Framlingham, but at the church of St. Clement Withoutmarker, Temple Barmarker and then (under the direction of her grandson's will) at Arundel.

Second wife

Norfolk next married another heiress, Margaret Audley, widow of Sir Henry Stanley and daughter of Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden.

Margaret's children by her marriage to Norfolk were two boys (Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk and Lord William Howard, ancestor of the Earls of Carlisle) and two girls.Both Mary FitzAlan and Margaret Audley have their tomb effigies at St Michael the Archangel, Framlinghammarker. [32428]

Third wife

After Margaret's death, Norfolk married Elizabeth Leyburne, widow of Thomas Dacre, 4th Baron Dacre of Gilleslandmarker.

Norfolk's three sons by his first two wives, Philip, Thomas, and William, married, respectively, Anne, Marie, and Elizabeth Dacre. The Dacre sisters were the daughters of Elizabeth Leyburne by her marriage to Thomas Dacre and were, therefore, step-sisters to Norfolk's sons.

Attempted fourth marriage, plots and death

Queen Elizabeth imprisoned Norfolk in 1569 for scheming to wed Mary, Queen of Scots.

Following his release, he participated in the Ridolfi plot with King Philip II of Spain to put Mary on the English throne and restore Catholicism in England, though the strength of the evidence for his participation in the Ridolfi plot is doubted by some . He was executed for treason in 1572. He is buried at St Peter ad Vinculamarker within the walls of the Tower of Londonmarker.

Norfolk's lands and titles were forfeit, although much of the estate was later restored to his sons. The title of Duke of Norfolk was restored, four generations later, to Thomas Howard.

In books and film


See also

Further reading

  • The marvellous chance: Thomas Howard, Fourth Duke of Norfolk, and the Ridolphi plot, 1570-1572 by Francis Edwards (1968) ISBN 0246644745
  • Thomas Howard, Fourth duke of Norfolk by Neville Williams (1965) AISN B0007DRE5Y
  • Thomas Howard: Fourth Duke of Norfolk by The Benedictine Brethren of Glendalough, edited by William Cooke Taylor (2005) ISBN 142546159X

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