Appendix B: Thomas Howard’s epitaph in brass

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As recorded in John Weever’s Ancient Funeral Monuments, 1630

(spelling modernized)

For as much as it is written in the Epitaph about the Tomb here present, of the high and mighty Prince, Thomas, late Duke of Norfolk after his descent from his noble ancestors, declared in the same in writing, which is also set out in arms about the same Tomb. That who will see farther of the manner of his living and service done by him to his princes; And of his honorable departing out of this world, shall resort and look in this Table.

First you shall know the said Duke was in his young age, after he had been a sufficient season at the grammar school, henchman to King Edward the IV. And was than called Thomas Howard, son and heir to Sir John Howard knight, after, Lord Howard, and after that, Duke of Norfolk of right inheritance; and the said Thomas Howard when he was at man’s age, was with divers other Gentlemen of England, sent to Charles, Duke of Burgundy in the beginning of the wars betwixt King Louis of France, and the said Duke Charles, and there continued unto the end of the said wars, to his great praise and thanks. As well of King Edward his own sovereign Lord, as of the said Duke Charles. And after the wars done betwixt the said King Louis, and the said Duke Charles, Than the said Thomas Howard returned in to England, unto King Edward his sovereign Lord: And he made him immediately Esquier for his body. And he was about him at his making ready both evening and morning. And afterward he made him knight at the marriage of the Duke of York, King Edward’s second son. And so he was with the said King Edward in all his business, as well at Lincoln Shire field, at the time of Banberyfeld, as at all other his business. And also at such time as the same King was taken by the Earl of Warwick at Warwick before his escape and departing into Flanders.

And after the king’s departing into Flanders, for that the coasts of England were so set for departing of any other his servants and friends, the said Thomas Howard was driven of force to take Saintmary of Saint Joans in Colchester for the true service he bare unto King Edward; and at the said King’s return out of Flaunders, the said Sir Thomas Howard resorted unto him and went with him to Barnetfeld, and there was sore hurte.

And after when King Edward went into France with his Army Royal, he sent thither before, divers gentlemen, And for that the said Sir Thomas Howard had good experience as well in his being with Charles Duke of Burgundy, as in divers fields and businesses with the said King Edward, he had therefore Commandment to go over with them, for his advise and council till the said king came over, And when King Edward and King Louis met at the Barriars upon the River of Som, the said Sir Thomas Howard was with King Edward at the Barriars by the king’s commandement and no more Men save only the chancellor of England, the Chauncellor of France, and Sir John Cheney.

And after the king’s coming home into England, the said Sir Thomas Howard obtained license of the king to lie in Norfolk at an house which he had in the right of my Lady his wife, called Althwelthorpe, and there he lay and kept an honorable house, in the favor of the whole shire, during the life of the said King Edward, and at that time and long after my Lord his father was alive.

And after King Edward was dead, and King Edward the fifth his son; then King Richard was king, And then the fore said Sir Thomas Howard was his subject, And for that the young Duchess of Norfolk which was very heir thereunto, was dead without issue; and the Lord Howard, father to the said Sir Thomas Howard, was rightful heir to the same of former descent, was creat[ed] Duke of Norfolk, and he creat[ed] Earl of Surrey: and so they both served the said King Richard truly as his subject during his life, lying at home in their own Countries and keeping honorable houses. And they went with him to Bosworth Field, where the said King Richard was slain, as also the said Duke of Norfolk, And the aforesaid Earl hurt, and taken upon the field, and put in the Tower of London, by King Henry the VII and there continued three years and a half. In which time of his being in the Tower, the same king Henry had a field with the earl of Lincoln in Nottinghamshire besides Newark, and the lieutenant of the Tower came to the said Earl, and proffered to him the keys to go out at his pleasure, and he answered him again, that he would not depart thence, unto such time as he that commanded him thither, would command him out again, which was King Henry the vii. But charged the lieutenant upon his allegiance if the king war on lyve [alive?] to bring him there, as the king was, to the intent he might do his Grace service, and after that for the true and faithful service that the said King Henry heard of him done to his other Prince; and also that he saw himself, he did on Bosworth feld, and for the great praise and truth that he heard of him whiles he was prisoner, and that he would not, though he had liberty, come out of the Tower at the Earl of Lincoln’s field, he took him out to his presence, and to be about his own person.


And within ten weeks of his coming out of the Tower, there was an Insurrection in the North by whom the Earl of Northumberland was slaine in the field, and also the City of York won with a labor [?] by force; And for the subduing of those Rebels, the king assembled a great host of his subjects, and took his journey towards them from the Castle of Hertford; and the said Earl of Surrey made chief captain of his forward [vanguard], and appointed under him in the said foward, the Earl of Shrewesbury, the Lord Hastings, Sir William Stanley, th[e]n being the king’s Chamberlain, Sir Rice ap Thomas, Sir Thomas Bowler, Sir John Savage, Sir John Ryseley, and divers other.  And when this Journey was done the Captains of these Rebels, and many other of them were put to execution, And for the singular trust that the king had to the said Earl, and the activity that he saw in him, he left him in the North, and made him his Lieutenant general from Trent Northward, and Warden of the East and Middle Marches of England, against Scotland, and Justice of the Forests from Trent Northward, and there he continued ten years; and kept the country in peace with policy, and many paines taken without which it would not have been, for that the country had been so lately punished, and not without desert, And thus he did the whole time of ten year, saving in the second year of his being, there was an Insurrection in the West part of the Country with whom the said Earl with the help of the King’s true subjects fought in the field, and subdued them at Alynworth besides Pomfrett; besides divers of them that were slain in the field he took the captains and put them to execution, and the residue he sued to the King’s highness for their Pardons, which he obtained, and won thereby the favor of the of the country. And in the same year the king went over the sea, and laid siege to Bolayn, the said Earl then remaining there, not withstanding that he was appointed to have gone with the King, and had gone, but for the lightness of the people there, wherefore he was left behind both for the safeguard of the country, and for defending of the Realm for the singular trust that he had unto him.


And soon after there was war with the Scots, and for that the said Earl would be in a readiness to defend them, he went to Annwyke, and there lay to the defence of the borders: and in his own person made a winter Road into Tyvydale, and there burnt their houses, and their corn to the great loss and impoverishment of the country, that was done there in an hundredth year before; And after that, the king of Scots in his own person, and one Parkyn with him invaded this Realm of England, with a greater power, and laid siege to Northam Castle, And as soon as he heard that the said Earl was coming towards him he departed and fled into Scotland with all the speed he might. And in the same summer after, the said Earl made another Road into Scotland, and laid siege to the Castle of Peyton and did raze pull down the said Castle, the king of Scots with the puissance of his Realm looking upon it; and the Earl had not then past viii or ix thousand men with him. And then the King of Scots sent unto the said Earl, Lyon his Herald for to require battle, which was granted by the said Earl, saying unto the said Herald, that for as much as he was an Officer of Armes sent from the King his Master to require battle, and he Lieutenant from the King his Master, granted thereunto. And said it was a contract and a full bargain which could not be broken, but in the default of one of them. And promised by the faith that he bare to God, and to Saint George, and to the King his Master, he would fulfill his promise, And if the King his Master brake, it should be as much to his dishonor and reproach as ever had Prince. And when the Herald had heard this answer, and saw weall [withal?] the said Earl was clearly determined to fight, he said unto him, Sir the King my master sendeth you word, that for eschewing of effusion of Christian blood, he will be contented to fight with you hand to hand for the Tower of Berwick, and the Fisthegarthis on the West marches: if he win you in battle, and if ye win him in battle you to have a king’s Ransom. Whereunto the said Earl made answer, that he thanked his Grace that he would put him to so much honor, that he being a king anointed would fight hand to hand with so poor a man as he, how be it he said he would not deceive his Grace, for he said though he won him in battle, he was never the nearer Berwick, nor of Fisthegarthys, for, he had no such commission so to do: his commission was to do the King of Scots his master all the harm he could, and so he had done, and would do, etc. And bade him show unto the king his Master that when the Journey was done, he would fight with him on Horseback or on foot at his pleasure, at any place he would indifferently appoint, if the king his Master would give him leave, etc.

And when the war was done and ended with the Scots, and the North part of England in good rest and peace, then the King’s Highness sent for the said Earl to be again about his person, and made him Treasurer of England, and of his privy Council.


And after that the king sent him into Scotland as chief Commissioner with the Lady Margaret his daughter, to be married to the foresaid king of Scots, which king at the time of the said Earl’s being there, entertained him as thankfully and favorable as could be thought. Nothwithstanding any displeasures done to him by the said Earl in the wars before. And also the said king said then unto him, that he loved him the better for such service as he had done before to the king his father king of England, though the hurt was done to him, and to his Realm, and he gave to him at his departing great gifts. And at the coming home again of the said Earl for the trust that the king our sovereign Lord had to him, his Grace made him one of his Executours.

And after the death of the King Henry the vii, King Henry the eight made him likewise of his privy council, and still continued Treasurer of England, and made him high Marshal of the same: And for the singular trust that the king had as well to his truth, as to his wisdom and activity, at his going into France with his puissance, having with his highness the most part of his Nobles of the Realm, left the said Earl with a certain power in the North parts, and made him Lieutenant generall from Trent Northward, to defend the Realm against the King of Scots, whom his highness had not trust unto for cause of the league betwixt France and them: in case the said King would invade this his Realm, which he did in deed, contrary to his oath and promise, with the whole power of the Realm of Scotland: which when the said Earl heard of, he made as great haste toward him as he could with the king’s power of the North parts,

And took his lodging in the Camp or plain called Wollarhaugh in the Countie of Northumberland which was in the sight of the King of Scots, and of all his army then lying on Flodden hill, a ground more like a camp or forteres [fortress? Forest?] than any meet ground to give battle on, contrary to his promise made to Rosecras Pursevanate [?] at arms, before sent unto him from the said Earl with message, that the said Earl with the Lord Howard then Admiral of England his Son, and the noble men of the North parts, with other the king’s subjects of the same North parts, was come thither to repress and resist his Invasions of his sovereign Lords Realm; desiring the said King of Scots to give him battle, which his message the same King of Scots took very thankfully and joyfully, promising him to abide there on the same ground, where he then was, which his promise he brake as it aforesaid, and took Flodden hills, a ground impregnable, and shot at him his great Ordenance, where as he lay like one minded to keep it like a fortress,

And when the said Earl did perceive that he had broken his promise, and taken so strong a ground as Flodden Hill, he then the said Earl removed all his Battle unto a plain besides Barmer Wood to the intent to get between him and his own Realm of Scotland, and there laid but one night, and on the next morning took his passage over the water of — at Twyfull for the [?] and then he marched the said king and his offe [host?] in such manner, as he gat between him and his own Realm of Scotland by force where of the said King was fain to let his Camp, and to prepare himself to battle with the said Earl, on a hill besides Bramston in Northumberland very near unto Sandyford. Where the said Earl with the good assistance of the Noblemen, and the power of the said North parts fought with the said king and him vanquished, and slain in plain battle directly before his own Standard.


In which battle were slain on the Scottish part ii Bishops, xi Earls, xvii Barons, LLLL knights besides other Gentlemen, with xvii RR[?] in number, which were numbered aswell by Scottish men as by them that did bury the most part of them.


And of truth divers Gentlemen and others as well of the said Earls servants, as of the North parts, and of Cheshire and Lancashire were there slain, for hard it is and half impossible in such a conflict and battle to be won without loss of men, whose death may be joyed among their friends to die in so high a service done to their Prince. And this noble act was done by the help of almighty God to the high honour of the king’s highness, honor and praise to the said Earl and to all other Noblemen, and others the king’s Subjects that were there with him at the battle the ix day of September in the V year of our sovereign Lord King Henry the viii.

And this done the said Earl went to Barwick, to establish all things well and in good order: And sent for the dead body of the King of Scots to Barwick, and when the Ordenance of the King of Scots was brought of the field, and put in good surety and all other things in good order. Then the said Earl took his Journey toward York, and there abode during the king’s pleasure, and carried with him the dead body of the aforesaid King of Scots, And there lay unto such time as the king’s highness came from beyond the Sea, after his winnig of Tyrwyn and Torney. And then his highness sent for the said earl to meet him at Richmond, and so he did, and there delivered unto his highness the dead body of the King of Scots, which dead body was delivered in to the Charterhouse there, and there to abide during the king’s pleasure.


And for the servive that the said Earl did, he was honorably restored unto his right name the Duke of Norfolk, and also had given unto him great possessions by the king’s highness.

And when the war betwixt the King our sovereign Lord and the French king was ended: then the said duke was sent into France as chief commissioner with the Lady Mary the King’s sister, to be married unto the French King Louis.

And when the King and the Queen were both out of the Realm to meet with the French King Frances at Guynes, and the Princess remaining in the Realm being a child, the said Duke was left behind as a protector and defender to minister Justice, and to see good Rule and Governance in the Realm, in the absence of the King’s highness, and so continued about the king, and of his privy Council till he was of age four score years, and then the king’s highness was content that the said duke should go home into his own country unto the Castle of Framlingham, where he continued and kept an honorable house unto the hour of his death. And ther he died like a good Christian Prince I now to witness, whose soul Jesu pardon.


And at his departing out of Framlingham Castle toward his burial he could not be asked one groat for his debt, nor of restitution to any person, and so was had to this present Abbey of Thetford with much honor; Accompanied with many great Lords, and the Noblemen of both shires of Norfolk and Suffolk.

Leaving then living these his children hereafter named; that is to say, his son and heir the Lord Thomas Duke of Norfolk, the Lord Edmond Howard, the Lord William Howard, and the Lord Thomas Howard, with the Lady Elizabeth wife to the count Rocheford; the Lady Agnes Countess of Oxenford, the Lady Kateryn espoused to the heir of sir Rice app Thomas of Wales: the Lady Elizabeth espoused unto the Viscount Fitzwaters son and heir, And the Lady Dorothy then being not married, but left for her right good substance to marry her with.

  1. Nick Drumbolis
    May 9th, 2015 at 05:33 | #1

    A quick note Marie to direct those interested, to the available version of the ‘Map of Tudor London 1520’ (with Gazetteer verso) retailed by Old House in association with the Historic Towns Trust (2013; ISBN 978-1-90840-251-6; $9.95; AddAll, or Amazon). The original, Mary Lobel’s British Atlas of Historic Towns Vol 3 (1989), is a commanding elephant folio (24 x 16 inch maps) affording capacious passage through the lanes & byways, while the above version (38 x 23 inches) reduces four large maps to one — though coloured, unlike the original. Many interesting details await, such as the Earl of Oxford’s Inn directly adjacent to the much later Fisher’s Folly, though on the inside of the Wall (a precinct which appears to have held some familial or historical appeal to Oxford). The atlas also includes a handy Parish map which isn’t part of the compressed version. Thanks for your kind words, Marie; will definitely keep you posted. allbest, Nick Drumbolis

  2. Nick Drumbolis
    February 8th, 2015 at 02:36 | #2

    Apologies for my abruptness Marie, but having read ‘Preface’ through ‘Appendix B’ is there more? Am I wrong to assume the full text is yet in progress for ultimate publication as an actual book, & that what’s posted here merely represents an introduction? The portions I’ve read make soothing sounds of rusty tumblers falling smartly into place in an antique lock. Though you don’t need anyone to tell you, you’ve hit on something remarkable here; kudos.

    My work-in-progress (Charterhouse Cartulary: The Role of the Howards in the Elizabethan Theatre) had to be shelved when I was forced to move my poetry bookshop out of Toronto (2010/1), & only recently have I had the luxury (or inclination) to revisit (if only to marvel over its foreign precincts..). But prior to the disruption, I had produced a few extracts which might prove of interest.

    Half-Sisters, an outline freely accessible online at Internet Archive [], introduces previously unrecognized facts, such as that [1] the only known London address for William Shaksper of Stratford (1602) was directly adjacent to the home of Edward de Vere’s recently-departed half-sister, Katherine (then occupied by nephew Henry Windsor); [2] the second quarto of The Famovs Victories (1617) was explicitly printed within the gated grounds of his other sister’s estate, Willoughby House; & [3] Willoughby House aka The Barbican was not in fact where Ward put it on his map but rather beyond the Wall, fronted by Jaggard’s printshop (no less) on its southern boundary & the Fortune Theatre adjacent directly east. [In this respect note Elizabeth Trentham Vere’s bequest of 20 pounds in gold to “my nephew” Peregrine Berty (Jr) in her will (1612); Willoughby House, in my view, the likeliest repository of uncle Ed’s mss, 1609-24.]

    I’ve refrained from uploading the others largely because the demands of resettlement have proven more monstrous than expected; but at least two might add perspective. Unfortunately all bound copies are long gone, but if you’re interested I’d be happy to email the pdfs.

    Your realization is stirring for me in a way that few relevant works in recent memory have been. The tireless ‘modern’ indictment against lapsed interpretive methodologies (specifically the biographical ‘vise’ demeaned by post-structuralist stylometrics) ignores the Oxfordian age’s saturation in genealogical tropes. Disputing ‘the writer’s life’ in ‘his work’, in my view, baldly misrepresents the vital imperative at play: fealties, affinities. ‘Shakespeare’s Alphabet’ puts the emphasis where I believe our best hope of vindicating Looney rests.

    allbest, Nick Drumbolis

    • Marie Merkel
      April 23rd, 2015 at 15:58 | #3

      Hi Nick – my apologies for the delay in responding online, as I promised to do when I wrote you privately. For the past few months, I’ve been debating taking down my website, and only now, with the “Hamlet’s Parallel Universe” project, have I committed to keeping it going. Also, to tell the truth, I’m both abashed and leery of trusting your surprising endorsement of my approach to Titus Andronicus. Music to my ears, on the one hand, and yet bittersweet. Yes, there is a 650 page monster of a manuscript that I will probably never attempt to publish. After five years working on it, I put it aside in 2008 to get the “distance” required to edit properly. Now so much time has passed that I’d need to revisit all my prior research and supplement or revise according to whatever has been published in the meantime. Since I’ve already worked out the play to my satisfaction and gotten it out of my system, other avenues of research always distract me. Maybe when I retire. If not, I guess I’ll leave it to my heirs to toss or keep.

      You wrote:

      Disputing ‘the writer’s life’ in ‘his work’, in my view, baldly misrepresents the vital imperative at play: fealties, affinities. ‘Shakespeare’s Alphabet’ puts the emphasis where I believe our best hope of vindicating Looney rests.

      Yes, this is easily overlooked, and also cause for confusion when Oxfordians approach Shakespeare expecting to find Edward everywhere. Before I could recognize Titus as Norfolk, I had to let go of seeing Titus as John, 13th earl of Oxford, who also had a 500 yr. old monument, was a great warrior, and died an old man. Affinities were tremendously important, and often visibly present, as in the Dudley-Norfolk feud of the 1560s:

      When Norfolk returned to London in January 1566 the feud broke out again, for he had been angered by Leicester’s broken promises about abandoning his courtship of Elizabeth. He told the favourite plainly that he would stop at nothing to oppose him, and each marshaled his forces. To emphasize the divisions at court Lord Robert’s supporters started wearing blue (or purple), and Norfolk’s yellow. “I am told that Leicester began it, so as to know who were his friends”, wrote de Silva, “and the adherents of the Duke did the same in consequence of some disagreements they had with them about the aid of the Duke and his friends had given to the Archduke’s match.” [Neville Williams, Thomas Howard, 4th duke of Norfolk, p. 94]

      It is most encouraging to hear that you are working on a book devoted to the role of the Howards in Elizabethan Theatre. When I discovered that the patrons of six of the major playing companies had the 2nd duke of Norfolk as a common ancestor, I was amazed that there wasn’t more acknowledgement or exploration of their activities and influence. I hope once you’re resettled you can pick up where you left off. Thanks for the link to “Half Sisters”. This is another reason for my delay in responding, as I didn’t want to do so until I could offer some learned comments on the new information in this brief extract. Unfortunately, the physical world of Elizabethan London is one of the many areas of Shakespeare study in which I am woefully deficient. The first thing I wanted to do after reading “Half Sisters” was to buy a big wall map of Elizabethan London, and pin little flags with dates and names on all the relevant locations. I hope you’ve run it by Nina Green, who probably knows Oxford’s London better than her own hometown.

      Please do send links to any other extracts that you upload. I’ve been too quiet as a blogster to have much readership these days, but you never know who might come across these comments and benefit.

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