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Howard, Henry, 1st earl of Northampton

Howard, Henry, 1st earl of Northampton (1540–1614). Howard's father Lord Surrey was executed when he was 7. In Edward VI's reign, he was tutored by John Foxe, the protestant martyrologist, but at Mary's accession a catholic bishop took over. The indiscretions of his elder brother the 4th duke of Norfolk blighted his prospects in the 1570s. Howard seems also to have entertained thoughts of a marriage to Mary, queen of Scots, and continued a correspondence with her. He was several times questioned and admitted to catholic sympathies. Not until 1600 did Elizabeth consent to receive him at court. By that time, he was cultivating James VI of Scotland and advising him by correspondence. It paid off handsomely. In 1604 he was created earl of Northampton, given the Garter in 1605, and became lord privy seal in 1608. He joined in the attack upon Ralegh and was believed to have been involved in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in the Tower. Northampton was reputed a man of much learning, but thought to be a flatterer and a schemer.

J. A. Cannon

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Northampton, Henry Howard, earl of

Henry Howard Northampton, earl of (nôrthămp´tən), 1540–1614, English courtier; son of the poet, Henry Howard, earl of Surrey; member of the powerful Howard family. His public career under Elizabeth I was marked by a charge of intrigue with Mary Queen of Scots and imprisonment (1583–85) for suspected heresy and treason. He attached himself to Robert Devereux, 2d earl of Essex, at the height of that nobleman's ascendancy, as well as to Essex's enemy, Robert Cecil (later earl of Salisbury). James I made Howard a privy councilor (1603), earl of Northampton (1604), and lord privy seal (1608). He became (1612) the king's principal minister on Salisbury's death. He supported the divorce of his grandniece, Frances Howard, from the 3d earl of Essex, and was responsible for the imprisonment of Sir Thomas Overbury, although presumably not for his murder.

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