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appear to have been hereditary in the family of De Staunton. Thomas de Staunton, in the time of Richard 11., was high steward. His descendant Robert de Staunton, it is probable, was slain in battle. His granddaughter, and sole heiress of his son, was married in 1423 to Ralph Shirley, Esq., son of Sir Ralph Shirley, Knight, a distinguished commander at the battle of Agincourt; and from this union of the Stauntons and Shirleys have sprung many mighty men of renown, amongst the rest Sir Robert Shirley, Baronet,
• Whose singular praise it is To have done the best things in the worst times, And hoped them in the most calamitous.'
The son of this Sir Robert, in reward for his special services rendered to King Charles by his father, was in 1677 created Lord Ferrers, and in 1711 Viscount Tamworth and Earl Ferrers."
1 See Dr. Wilson Pearson ; in the Journal of the British Archaological Association, 1863.
THE HOUSE OF HOWARD.
HE calamities which befell the ducal House of
Howard, within the lapse of a century, may be
cited as impressive instances of the instability of pride and place and human grandeur ; and these in the history of a house whose greatness has almost passed into the proverbial distich :
"What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards ?
Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.' This ducal house stands next to the blood-royal, at the head of the peerage of England, and is the chief of the honourable and large-spreading family of Howard. Sir John Howard was an eminent Yorkist, not only on account of his princely birth (maternally) and magnificent fortune, but from the stations of high trust which at different periods had devolved upon him. After distinguishing himself very early in life in the French wars of Henry VI., Sir John was constituted by Edward iv., in 1461, Constable of the Castle of Norwich, appointed Sheriff of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and granted some of the forfeited manors of James Butler, Earl of Wiltshire, in England, and of Ormonde in
Ireland. In 1468, being treasurer of the king's household, Sir John Howard obtained a grant of the whole benefit that should accrue to the king by the coinage of money in the City and Tower of London, or elsewhere in the realm of England, so long as he should continue in that office. In 1470, when he was summoned to Parliament under the title of Lord Howard, he was made captain-general of all the king's forces at sea for resisting the attempts of the Lancastrians, then rallying under Nevil Earl of Warwick, the Duke of Clarence, and others. In 1471 his Lordship was constituted Deputy-Governor of Calais and the marches adjacent; and his summons to Parliament as a Baron continued until he was created Earl Marshal of England and Duke of Norfolk, 28th June 1483, when his son and heir, Thomas Howard, was created Earl of Surrey. The Duke had previously been invested with the insignia of the Order of the Garter. As Earl Marshal his Grace was empowered (in the king's presence or absence) to bear a golden staff, tipped at each end with black, the upper part thereof to be adorned with the royal arms, and the lower with those of his own family; and for the better support of the dignity of this office, he obtained a grant to himself and his heirs for ever of £20 annually, payable half-yearly, out of the feefarm rent of Ipswich, in Suffolk. His Grace was subsequently constituted Lord Admiral of England, Ireland, and Aquitaine for life, and obtained grants of divers manors and lordships.
But he did not long enjoy these great possessions; for
the next year, being with Richard at Bosworth Field, he fell in leading the van of that prince's army. His Grace was urged by some of his friends to refrain from attending his sovereign on the field; and the night previous to the battle, this doggerel warning was found in his tent:
‘Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold,
For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.' Yet he would not desert his royal master ; but as he had faithfully lived under him, so he manfully died by his side.
Next, Catherine Howard, niece of the second Duke of Norfolk, became the fifth wife of Henry vil. In this marriage Henry considered himself perfectly blessed: the agreeable person and disposition of Catherine had entirely captivated his affections; and in the height of his transport, he publicly in his chapel returned solemn thanks to Heaven for the unspeakable felicity the conjugal state afforded him. His bliss was soon fated to terminate ; and in the bitter disappointment he experienced in Catherine, Heaven seemed to revenge upon him the cruelty with which he had sacrificed his former wives. Her transition from the throne to the scaffold occupied but eighteen months (Kings of England).
Next, Thomas Howard, aspiring to the hand of Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Margaret Queen of Scotland, and niece of Henry vill., was attainted of treason, and died a prisoner in the Tower of London in 1536.
Henry Earl of Surrey, son of the third Duke, was one of the brightest ornaments of the House of Howard ; and as statesman, poet, and warrior, he is thus characterized by
Sir Egerton Brydges : 'Excellent in arts and in arms, a man of learning, a genius, and a hero, of a generous temper and a refined heart, he united all the gallantry and unbroken spirit of a rude age with all the elegance and grace of a polished era. With a splendour of descent, in possession of the highest honours and abundant wealth, he relaxed not his efforts to deserve distinction by his personal worth. Conspicuous in the rough exercises of tilts and tournaments, and commanding armies with skill and bravery in expeditions against the Scots under his father, he found time, at a period when our literature was rude and barbarous, to cultivate his mind with all the exquisite spirit of the models of Greece and Rome, to catch the excellences of the revived muses of Italy, and to produce in his own language compositions which, in simplicity, perspicuity, graceful ornament, and just and natural thought, exhibited a shining contrast with the works of his predecessors, and an example which his successors long attempted in vain to follow. The iniquitous execution of this gifted nobleman was the last tyrannical act of Henry Viii. The Earl of Surrey underwent the penalty of his unjust sentence during the lifetime of his father (whom the death of the king preserved from the same fate), 21st January 1547.
Thomas, the fourth Duke, shared the fate of his distinguished father, being implicated in the affairs of Mary Queen of Scots. Partly from accident, and partly from the treachery of the Duke's secretary, the conspiracy was discovered. It was soon traced by the terror of the rack ;