HOWARD, Thomas (1627-77)

HOWARD, Thomas (1627–77)

styled 1646-52 Ld. Mautravers; suc. fa. 17 Apr. 1652 as 23rd or 16th earl of ARUNDEL and earl of SURREY; rest. 29 Dec. 1660 as 5th duke of NORFOLK

Never sat.

b. 9 Mar. 1627, 1st s. of Henry Frederick Howard, styled Lord Mautravers, (later 22nd or 15th earl of Arundel, and Surrey) and Elizabeth, da. of Esme Stuart, 3rd duke of Lennox [S]; bro. of Henry Howard, later 6th duke of Norfolk. educ. Utrecht. unm. d. Dec. 1677.

Associated with: Padua, Italy.

Thomas Howard appears to have suffered catastrophic brain damage as a result of an illness contracted in 1645 whilst travelling in Italy with his grandfather also named Thomas Howard (earl of Arundel and Surrey).1 A commission of lunacy issued in 1654 refers to his having been in a state of lunacy ‘by visitation of god’ only since 30 July 1653, but it is probable that the need to have him formally declared a lunatic related to questions of inheritance after his father’s death rather than to the actual onset of mental disability.2 Howard was cared for by an English ‘governor’, Henry Yerbury, who was allowed £120 a year for his maintenance.3 Howard’s lunacy was probably convenient for the family since it protected the estates from sequestration on grounds of delinquency. Allegations that Howard was not a lunatic but was a Protestant being detained at the instigation of his Catholic brother (and heir) Henry Howard, later 6th duke of Norfolk, for nefarious purposes, resulted in 1659 in Parliament ordering his return to England.4 The order was not carried out and such evidence as is available suggests that the allegations were unfounded. They seem to have originated with William Howard, Viscount Stafford, who had a claim on the estate.5 Similar allegations made in 1674, and again after his death in 1677, also seem to have resulted from family disputes over the distribution of the estate.6 Despite his mental incapacity, Howard was restored to the dukedom of Norfolk, which had been forfeited in 1572, by an act of the Convention in 1660 and confirmed by a second act in 1661. The acts contained the equivalent of a special remainder, ensuring that the succession to the dukedom would pass to his younger brother, Henry.


  • 1 E. Walker, Short Life, 220.
  • 2 TNA, C142/71/180.
  • 3 PROB 5/701.
  • 4 TNA, PRO 31/3/105, f. 128.
  • 5 CSP Ven. 1659-61, pp. 73, 83, 107-8; CSP Dom. 1659-60, pp. 201, 219, 228; SP84/168, f. 238.
  • 6 HMC Kenyon, 99; TNA, IND 1/16830.