Norfolk, John Howard, 1st duke of

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Norfolk, John Howard, 1st duke of (d. 1485). As grandson of the 1st duke, Howard was an heir general to the Mowbray titles and estates. From the death of his father in 1436, he was merely lord of the manor of Stoke Neyland (Suffolk). He was a retainer of the 3rd duke and perhaps on his nomination the first Yorkist sheriff of Norfolk in 1461, shortly before Edward IV knighted him on the battlefield of Towton. Thereafter he was one of the king's most valuable servants, in office at court and in East Anglia, in diplomacy and war on land and sea; he was enriched by generous rewards and his own enterprise, which included ownership of fourteen ships. He became Lord Howard in 1470, but Edward excluded him from the Mowbray inheritance by a parliamentary Act of dubious legality; this allowed its retention by the king's younger son Richard, in right of his late wife, sole heiress of the 4th duke. In 1483 Howard supported the usurpation of Richard III, who created him duke of Norfolk; that the title was at the king's disposal suggests that Prince Richard had died in the Tower of London, of which Howard was constable. That he was the only magnate killed fighting for Richard at Bosworth seems to confirm his complicity.

R. L. Storey

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John Howard 1st duke of Norfolk

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