(3rd V. Bindon)

Acceded: 1590

Died: 1 Mar 1610/1, Waterston Manor

Buried: Bindon, Dorset, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: Thomas HOWARD (1º V. Bindon)

Mother: Elizabeth MARNEY

Married: Grace DUFFIELD (V. Bindon) (d. ABT 1596) (dau. of Bernard Duffield) BEF 10 Jan 1580

The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

The Complete Peerage vol.VI,p.585. Second son of Thomas, first Viscount Howard of Bindon, by Elizabeth Marney. Educated at Queens’, Cambridge. 1550; Married. Temple 1566. m. Grace, dau. of Bernard Duffield, s.p. suc. bro. Henry as 3rd Visct. Howard 1590. Mayor, Weymouth and Melcombe Regis 1580-1. J.p. Dorset 1579, capt. musters, v.-adm. by 1586, ld. lt. 1601, keeper of royal game 1603, custos rot. by 1605. Knight of the Garter 1606.

Howard’s father, first Viscount Howard of Bindon, was the leading Dorset magnate, on good terms with the gentry of the county, probably wished to have a member of the family sitting in the House of Commons in 1563 because two bills affecting him were coming up for discussion. He could not sit himself, and his heir Henry, Thomas’s elder brother, was insane. Thus it fell to Thomas Howard to represent the family.

He was little better than his brother, though he held county office for over 30 years. Described by a modern historian as ‘spiteful’ and ‘odious’, and by his enemy Sir Walter Raleigh as a ‘peevish fool’, Howard alienated the whole county, and his name was conspicuously missing from the list of 76 Dorset gentlemen who signed the Bond of Association in Oct 1584. As early as 1561 he had been arrested by the watch for complicity in a fatal assault on his father-in-law. He took an active part, on the Melcombe side, in the disputes between Weymouth and Melcombe before and after the union of the two boroughs in 1571. After the 1577 commission of inquiry into piracy in Dorset, he wrote a letter of complaint about Robert Gregory, for which he was summoned to London.

More notorious, and splitting the county into two camps, was his quarrel with Sir Walter Raleigh’s friend Arthur Gorges, who had married Douglas, the heiress of Thomas’s insane brother Henry. Their daughter, Ambrosia, became heir to the Howard land in Dorset, so that, in 1590, Thomas Howard inherited the title without the estates. For a decade until Ambrosia’s death in 1600 he fought to prove her illegitimate, and when, on her father’s re-marriage, she became a ward of the Queen, Howard was imprisoned for slandering her, Feb 1592.

Not surprisingly the appointment of such a man as lord lieutenant was opposed. At least one of the deputy lieutenants, Sir Matthew Arundell, was against it. But the office had been in commission for three years, an appointment was necessary, and Howard could not be passed over. He soon found himself at odds with all four of the deputies, ArundellSir Richard RogersSir George Trenchard, and Sir Ralph Horsey. In 1602, writing about defects in the county forces, Howard said:

"I have been slower in the reformation of these objects by reason of the cold assistance, or, rather, secret crossings of my deputies; otherwise I could not make any sufficient excuse for keeping the state of the country so long uncertified..."

He pursued relentlessly his vendetta with Raleigh, supporting the brothers John and Henry Mere against him, and generally attacking his credit in the county while Lord Henry Howard (afterwards Earl of Northampton) attacked it at court. It must have given him satisfaction to be made KB in the new reign while Raleigh was in the Tower.

Lulworth Castle, built in the early 17th Century as a hunting lodge, became a country house at the heart of a large estate. Thomas Howard, 3rd Lord Bindon, built the Castle in order to entertain hunting parties for the King and Court. The exterior of the Castle changed little over the years but the interior evolved in line with changing fashions until it was gutted by a disastrous fire in 1929.

Howard died 1 Mar 1611.

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