Born: 1535, Wardour Castle, England

Died: 24 Dec 1598

Father: Thomas ARUNDELL (Sir)

Mother: Margaret HOWARD

Married: Margaret WILLOUGHBY



2. Thomas ARUNDELL HOWARD (1 B. Arundell of Wardour)

3. William ARUNDELL HOWARD (d. 16 Feb 1592)

A member of the ancient knightly family of Arundell of Cornwall, Arundell was the son of Sir Thomas Arundell and of Margaret Howard, a sister of Queen Catherine Howard.

After the death of their father in 1552 their mother took her children to live in the Holy Roman Empire, where the family used the name of Howard. For this reason, Arundell is sometimes referred to as Matthew Arundell-Howard. In 1554, two years after his father's execution, when he was about twenty-one, the Arundells were "restored in blood", meaning that their father's attainder was reversed so far as it affected them, and Arundell gradually succeeded in regaining most of his father's lost estates in Dorset and Wiltshire. He was able to purchase Wardour Castle, which had escheated to the Earl of Pembroke on his father's attainder and it became his principal residence. He also maintained a house in London. He was knighted in 1574.

He was contracted to marry Catherine, dau. of Thomas Wriothesley, first earl of Southampton, by his wife Jane Cheney, but instead she married Sir Thomas Cornwallis, and Arundell married Margaret Willoughby, a daughter of Sir Henry Willoughby of Wollaton, Nottinghamshire, and of Anne Grey (d. 1548), daughter of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset and Margaret Wotton. As a child Margaret and her sister and brother had been taken in by Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, and his wife, Frances Brandon, after their father was slain in the suppression of Kett's Rebellion in 1549, and had grown up with Dorset's daughters, JaneCatherine, and Mary. Margaret was present at Mary Grey's secret marriage on 16 Jul 1565 to the Queen's serjeant porter, Thomas Keyes, and was bequeathed a tankard of gold and silver in Mary Grey's will. As a young lady Margaret had previously served in the household of Princess Elizabeth at Hatfield House..

He served on numerous commissions in Dorset and Wiltshire, and served in the House of Commons, representing Shaftsbury in the Parliament of 1555 and Breconshire in the one 1563. In the latter Parliament, he became closely associated with William Cecil, later Lord Burghley, and his family and that relationship probably began in this Parliament.

His younger brother Charles was a notorious recusant and his elder son was imprisoned for his Catholicism, but Sir Matthew was never suspected of recusancy. He was appointed deputy Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire in 1589 and held the post the rest of his life.

In 1588 he was listed as among twelve knights with "great possessions" able to sustain a peerage.

Sir John Harrington, a courtier often claimed as the inventor of the water closet, reported an occasion at Wardour in the early 1590s at which a conversation about sanitation first prompted his interest in the subject. Apart from Harrington, those present were Arundell and his son Thomas, Thomas's wife, Mary, her brother Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, and Sir Henry Danvers. However, fifty years later Wardour Castle still depended on medieval garderobes as privies.

In his final months Arundell was in pain from bladder stones. Following his death on 24 Dec 1598 he was buried at the parish church of Tisbury. In his Will, proved on 6 Feb 1598/9, he gave 2,000 at the time an enormous sum, equal to almost twice the annual income of his more powerful connection the Earl of Southampton  to the poor. As Custos Rotulorum of Dorset he was succeeded by Sir Walter Raleigh.


P. W. Hasler, Editor, The House of Commons, 1558-1603 (LOndon: HMSO, 1981)David Faris, Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth-Century Colonists, 2nd E
d. (Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999.)

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