Howard, Thomas, Earl of Surrey and Duke of Norfolk

   A prominent supporter of RICHARD III, Thomas Howard, earl of Surrey, later revived the Howard family fortunes through loyal service to the house of TUDOR.
   Like his father, John HOWARD, Thomas was a loyal adherent of the house of YORK. In 1466, Howard became a henchman (i.e., a HOWARD, THOMAS, EARL OF SURREY AND DUKE OF NORFOLK 125 squire or page) to EDWARD IV, and fought for Edward at the Battles of BARNET and TEWKESBURY in 1471. He accompanied the king on the expedition to FRANCE in 1475 and was knighted in January 1478. In 1483, Howard and his father supported Richard III’s usurpation of his nephew’s throne (see Edward V, King of England; Usurpation of 1483). At the COUNCIL meeting held in the TOWER OF LONDON on 13 June, it was Thomas Howard who, upon Richard’s signal, burst into the chamber with armed men to arrest William HASTINGS, Lord Hastings (see Council Meeting of 13 june 1483). To reward the Howards’ loyalty, Richard created John Howard duke of Norfolk and Thomas Howard earl of Surrey. At Richard’s coronation in July, Surrey carried the sword of state before the king, and was soon after appointed steward of the royal household and a member of the royal council. In the autumn, during BUCKINGHAM’S REBELLION, Surrey led the royal forces that recaptured Bodiam Castle from the rebels.
   In August 1485, Surrey fought for Richard at the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD, where both the king and Norfolk were slain. Imprisoned in the Tower by HENRY VII, Surrey was stripped of his lands and title by a bill of ATTAINDER passed in the first PARLIAMENT of the new reign. Although pardoned in March 1486, Surrey remained in confinement until January 1489, when the king restored his title. The earl did not, however, recover his estates until 1501, having by then earned them through loyal service against rebels in Yorkshire and against the Yorkist pretender Perkin WARBECK. After helping to negotiate the marriage of Prince Arthur to Catherine of Aragon in 1501, and the marriage of Princess Margaret to JAMES IV of SCOTLAND in 1502, Surrey finally regained his father’s dukedom in 1513 by defeating the Scots and slaying King James at the Battle of Flodden. By his death in 1524, Thomas Howard, the second Howard duke of Norfolk, had effectively erased his Yorkist past and firmly tied his family’s future to the house of Tudor.
   Further Reading: Head, David, The Ebbs and Flows of Fortune: The Life of Thomas Howard,Third Duke of Norfolk (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995);Tucker, Melvin J., The Life of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and Second Duke of Norfolk, 1443-1524 (The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton, 1964).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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