Sir Edward HOWARD

Admiral of England

Born: 1476/7

Died: 25 Apr 1513, at Sea, Wexford, Leinster, England / Brest (in battle)

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: Thomas HOWARD (2 D. Norfolk)

Mother: Elizabeth TILNEY (C. Surrey)

Married 1: Elizabeth STAPLETON AFT 1494

Married 2: Alice LOVELL (B. Morley) Jan 1506

Associated with: ?




Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk married twice and had 17 children, most of them boys. He was responsible for many of branches of the Howard family tree. Among others, both Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Catherine Howard were his granddaughters.

Lord Edward Howard was a younger brother to Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Edward was the first of the Howards to win fame as a great admiral. He began his naval career when he was very young. He was in his teens when he took part in his first naval battle.

After a series of skirmishes and raids, James IV of Scotland and Henry VII made a truce in Sep 1497 that led to peace treaty in Jan 1502. For their part in the fighting, Edward and his brother Thomas were knighted by their father at Ayton Castle in Sep. In 1503, when his father escorted Margaret Tudor to Scotland, the entire family went along.

In 1506 was pardoned, along with his brother Thomas and several other men, for an illegal entry upon a manor belonging to the estate of the late John Grey, lord Lisle.

At the death of Henry VII in Apr 1509 Sir Edward Howard carried the king's banner in the funeral procession, riding a horse trapped with the royal arms. In the tournament held to celebrate the coronation of Henry VIII, Thomas, Edward and Edmund Howard, as well as Richard Grey (brother of the Marquis of Dorset), Charles Brandon and Sir Thomas Knyvett (brother-in-law of the Howards) rode as challengers against Henry's answerers.

Sir Edward Howard, granted the office of king's bannerer on 16 May 1509 with a fee of forty pounds, became a close royal companion. Sir Thomas Knyvett and Sir Thomas Boleyn, wed to Surrey's daughters, were also much at court. The other Howard sons were less favored, although hardly excluded from Henry's circle.

His first naval victory was in Aug 1511 against Andrew Barton, a favorite sea captain of James IV. Barton, sailing with letters of marque against Portugal, had taken several English ships on the pretext that they were carrying Portuguese goods. Henry was willing to view Barton as a pirate; without complaining to James, the King turned the Howards loose to capture him. Barton was soundly defeated and most likely taken prisoner, and his two ships, the Lion and Jenny Perwin, captured. However, the victory was well enough known to be celebrated in a song of the day one line of which is:

"Lord Howard he took sword in hand And off he smote Sir Andrew's head"

Lord Howard chased French ships up and down the English channel. He would also land on the French coast and set fire to a town or attach a castle.

In 1512 he launched an attach on the French harbor of Brest. The attach was a disaster. Some of his ships, with all hands on board, was lost. One of the dead was, on 12 Aug 1512, his brother-in-law and friend Sir Thomas Knyvett. Lord Howard wanted revenge.

In 1513 he was appointed Lord Admiral of England and he renewed his attack on Brest. Unfortunately the French fleet was in harbor and were strongly defended by cannon on shore. On 25 Apr Lord Howard was badly wounded and jumped overboard to avoid capture and drowned. He was 35. The English fleet, which had been ravaging the French coast and holding the French navy at bay in Brest, was demoralized by Howard's death and abandoned the blockade, straggling home in shock to Plymouth.

Sir Edward had sired two bastards for whom he did his best to provide: he asked the King to choose one; the other was located to Charles Brandon. Howard hoped their new guardians would be "good" lords to his sons, but as an extra safeguard he left the boys money to help. He also remembd his stepson, Henry Parker, Lord Morley, in his will of 1512. He bequeted the manor of Morley Hall in Norfolk to his wife, Alice, for her lifetime, after which it would pass to Henry, son of the first marriage of Alice.

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