Thomas Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk

Clemmie

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
3,630
Florida
#1
Thomas wasn’t really the first Duke of Norfolk. He was granted the title by Richard III upon the latter's succession to the throne. With the death of the 4th Duke, the Mowbray family was extinct. Thomas, a relation of the Mowbray family through his mother Margaret de Mowbray, was given the title. He was a staunch Yorkist, valued retainer of Cecile, Duchess of York, and knew and was interested in Richard, Duke of Gloucester to whom he was a kind of father figure. He died at the Battle of Bosworth supporting Richard III.

I hesitate to write a anything based on a single work, but I haven’t come across this Howard in my other readings of the period. I thought maybe the rest of you could fill in the blanks or add other information. Indeed, the only Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk I had read anything about was Anne Boleyn’s uncle (2nd Duke of Norfolk). The book I am reading is John Ashton-Hill’s Richard III’s beloved cousin, John Howard and the House of York .

One chapter (6) I found particularly interesting. It dealt with Lady Eleanor Butler. One “mystery” from this period was whether or not Edward IV had a precontract with this lady. John Ashton-Hill doesn’t say whether or not such a contract existed (I haven’t read his book on Eleanor Butler yet). The point he makes in this book is that both Howard and Lord Hastings were intimately acquainted with Eleanor Butler and/or members of her family. In other words, both COULD have known if Edward and Eleanor Butler had married in secret.

In reading this, I developed a little theory of my own. Could this “knowledge” about this precontract be the reason for the execution of Hastings? If he knew that no precontract existed, could the reason the execution was carried out so swiftly was because he could denounce the Titulus Regius as being false? Howard’s interests lay with Richard who had granted him the title and lands of Duke of Norfolk and not with the Woodvilles, so he may not have cared about the legalities if indeed he knew anything. In fact, the author states that there was no love lost between Thomas Howard and Elizabeth Woodville. He states, that "Elizabeth Woodville was almost certainly the moving force behind attempts to ensure that Howard would never acquire any significant part of the Mowbray inheritance." This inheritance was given to him by Richard III.

What say you all about my little theory.

p.s. I haven't finished the book yet. I will add more information if I come upon anything interesting.
 
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#2
...Could this “knowledge” be the reason for the execution of Hastings?...
seems problematic to me: its a reasonable assumption that if Hastings knew the truth (whatever that might be...) about the Butler 'marriage', then others would also have known. even if he knew because he was intimately familiar with her family then not only would her family also be for the block, but so would everyone else who was intimately familiar with her family, and family's don't just have one intimate friend.

if you need something silenced, and 10 people know about it, there seems little point executing just one of them...

personally, i think Hastings execution has far more to do with Richards mental state than anything else: he was embarking on something very big, and potentially very dangerous, and one of the people he thought that he could depend on to help - and who would make a bad enemy - went against him. fear, outrage, incomprehension, desperation - all things that make a medieval warlord reach for the sword.
 

Von Ranke

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
6,377
Thistleland
#4
An interesting and thoughtful proposition Clemmie. The problem is it all hinges on the was there a pre contract question? The only hard evidence we have for it is the Titulus Regis which is suspect as it was Richard's reason for claiming the throne. Everything else is pure speculation. If indeed there was a pre contract then your theory would be built on solid foundations but as we historians like to say, show me the evidence. :)
 

Clemmie

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
3,630
Florida
#5
I know. I was just rereading the thread about Hastings in the social group section. Very interesting and a lot of facts I was unaware of or had forgotten. As was the Precontract thread.

As I said, I'll just keep on reading. :)
 

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