Friday, January 19, 2018

Henry VIII's Last Victim, Henry Howard

Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, Henry VIII's Last Victim (according to Jessie Childs) was beheaded on January 19, 1547. His father, Thomas Howard, the Third Duke of Norfolk, was also in the Tower awaiting execution. Henry VIII's death on January 28 saved him from the ax.

Henry Howard was a poet and contemporary of Thomas Wyatt who survived the Tower during the Anne Boleyn purge and died on October 11, 1542. Of his late friend, Howard wrote:

Wyatt resteth here, that quick could never rest;
Whose heavenly gifts increased by disdain,
And virtue sank the deeper in his breast;
Such profit he of envy could obtain.

A head, where wisdom mysteries did frame,
Whose hammers beat still in that lively brain
As on a stith, where some work of fame
Was daily wrought, to turn to Britain’s gain.

A visage, stern and mild; where both did grow,
Vice to condemn, in virtues to rejoice;
Amid great storms whom grace assured so,
To live upright and smile at fortune’s choice.

A hand that taught what might be said in rhyme;
That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit;
A mark the which (unperfited, for time)
Some may approach, but never none shall hit.

A tongue that served in foreign realms his king;
Whose courteous talk to virtue did enflame
Each noble heart; a worthy guide to bring
Our English youth, by travail unto fame.

An eye whose judgment no affect could blind,
Friends to allure, and foes to reconcile;
Whose piercing look did represent a mind
With virtue fraught, reposed, void of guile.

A heart where dread yet never so impressed
To hide the thought that might the truth avaunce;
In neither fortune lift, nor so repressed,
To swell in wealth, nor yield unto mischance.

A valiant corps, where force and beauty met,
Happy, alas! too happy, but for foes,
Lived, and ran the race that nature set;
Of manhood’s shape, where she the mold did lose.

But to the heavens that simple soul is fled,
Which left with such, as covet Christ to know
Witness of faith that never shall be dead:
Sent for our health, but not received so.

Thus, for our guilt, this jewel have we lost;
The earth his bones, the heavens possess his ghost.

Henry Howard's son and grandson would also be imprisoned and would die in the Tower during the reign of ElizabethI: Thomas Howard by decollation; Philip Howard of dysentery.


  1. Have you ever wondered how the British people were so brainwashed that to this day they see pre-Reformation England as a foreign country and not their own?

  2. A concerted, deliberate educational and historical effort: all the histories depicted Catholics as something foreign and England's Catholic past as something dark and "medieval"--and all the curricula did the same.