Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Question from Harry - Child of Thomas Howard and Margaret Douglas

Lord Thomas Howard (1511-1537), son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk Thomas Howard by Agnes Tilney, apparently by some sources had an affair with Margaret Douglas, niece of Henry VIII and daughter of his sister Margaret.

Due to this they were both sent to the Tower and Thomas died there. However, Margeret was released to Scion House in London. Was she pregnet with Thomas's child (Robert) as supposedly there was a Robert Howard born at the Scion house in 1537?

I cannot find any substantial historic reference to this. Various on-line trees have it but their source seems to be other people's trees.

The archives of the Dukes of Norfolk in England would not confirm it so I don't know the original source of this birth (myth?).

There was a succesion problem which caused their imprisonment as Henry had just bastardized his 2 daughters after his marriage to Jane.


Susan Higginbotham said...

I don't know of any contemporary evidence for a child at all; indeed, Chapuys wrote that he had heard that "copulation had not taken place" between Margaret and Thomas. I suspect the report of a child arose from someone trying to fabricate a royal descent.

Marilyn R said...

Henry was very jittery over not having a male heir (yet) and Mary and Elizabeth were out of favour for being their mothers’ daughters, so he was suspicious of anyone making a play for such a near relative as his niece Margaret Douglas.

Agnes Tilney was the second Duke of Norfolk’s second wife and their son Lord Thomas Howard (1511–1537) was imprisoned in the Tower with Margaret, but she was moved to more congenial conditions because of recurring illness. Lord Thomas died in the Tower of illness the following year.

Howard men must have held some sort of fatal attraction for Margaret Douglas, as she was in trouble again in 1541 for a similar affair with her late lover’s half-nephew Charles Howard, and had a severe warning not to let it happen again. Charles’s father, Lord Edmund Howard, was from the Duke’s first marriage to Agnes’s cousin Elizabeth Tilney, so Edmund and Thomas were half-brothers. Charles was a full brother of Queen Katherine.

I agree with Susan that this birth at Syon House looks a bit suspicious. I have been working on Agnes Tilney’s involvement with her step-granddaughter Katherine Howard in Lambeth for a long time and have not come across the birth of this supposed grandson of hers at Syon. Are you able to let us know what your source is?

Anonymous said...

I see the Howards as not needing to fabricate royal descent. Their Arundel and Norfolk titles put them in the oldest and second only peerage to the crown in England. They gave rise to Queen Elizabeth through Anne Boelyn's mother, Elizabeth (a Tilney by descent as well). On the issue of whether there was a son by Margaret Douglas and a Howard man, like everyone else, I can't say. The motivation to fabricate royal descent, I don't believe, was a motive to assert that there was a child. Thanks for this discussion. DLC

C said...

Has there every been any DNA testing done to determine a connection between Robert and Margaret Douglas?

Anonymous said...

I do not think there is reason to Not believe that Robert was the son of Thomas Howard and Margaret. They were betrothed and promised each other to each other. A repeating illness was likely morning sickness. I know that with my first child, I was sick daily for months.

country housewife said...

I have from some reference that the son was named Rowland, not Robert, but I cannot locate any information on him either.

KIMBERLY S said...

I traced my ancestry back to all these people through my paternal side.

Adam Shipley xame to America in mid 1600's & married Lois Howard, it's though her lineage I came upon alo this info.

freedomlady said...

Hello All,

I have found a distant cousin Russ Howard In Oregon. His wife Katherine owns the dance studio in Roseburg. He has told me about a book " Providence......Lost...." that describes much.
We don't need to "have" a blood line....but it makes sense that Rowland or Robert was the product of the Secret marriage...More then an Engagment. Reports are that Her Love Sir Thomas Howard had a Older (?) brother with the same first and Last name...and Margaret Gave her baby to him to raise....To save the child's and her life. She reported to have gone often to visit him and raised him to never tell of his paternal Connection or that she was his mother. He had a son.....who had a son....To Matthew Howard...who Immigrated to the New World. One of Matthews Grandchildren married one of Sir Thomas Hinton's grandchildren ( Sir Thomas Hinton was co Founder of Jamestown COLONY......and Other "Howards" married into the HINTON line. Vachel HInton was a PVT in the Virginia Militia during the REVOLUTIONARY War...and was married to his Second Wife ( My 5 x great GM

peterhowardsantarosa said...

It seems high time to confirm through DNA testing that Matthew Howard was the great grandson of Thomas Howard and Lady Margaret Douglas. A paternal line descendant of Matthew Howard's DNA should confirm if the proper English authoritiy would consent to a DNA test. I have read that his brother Matthew's brother, John Howard, used a seal of the Duke of Norfolk on his will filed in Virginia, which would have been illegal if not authorized to use such seal given the Colonies were under the rule of the King at the time in the late 1600s. John Howard would never have used an illegal seal which could have had the effect of nullifying his well.

I know several paternal direct descendants of Matthew Howard, starting with (Eagle) Col John Howard of Merritt Isla
nd Florida.

Debra Cofer said...

I also know a male descendant of Matthew Howard. Y-DNA, anyone????

Stephanie Fairchild Fister said...

Good morning from snowy Kentucky! I hope this find you well.

My research on the mystery of Robert Howard of Syon House led me to a post you made several years ago. Have you found any evidence in recent years to support the claim some have made that Robert Howard b. 1538 was the secret child of Thomas Howard and Margaret Douglas? My hope to include accurate information in a book I'm writing.

Kind regard,

Jennifer Gray said...

Stephanie, I, too, live in Kentucky, and am writing a book. I have been tracing my lineage to the Howards. Supposedly, I am a descendant of Robert, and the dead-end is very unnerving.

Susan Shine said...

Stephanie and Jennifer, I too am supposed to be a descendant of Robert Howard. I live in South Carolina. My 2nd great grandmother was Fatima Howard. I traced her backward through the Howard's and got as far as:

Robert John Howard
Birth JAN 1537 • London, Middlesex, , England
Death 1598 • Tybbenham, Norfolk, England

I seems that Fatima was the end of my Howard line, if it is correct. I have been told that the Howard line is one of the most difficult lines to prove. I hope someone can verify this about Lord Thomas and Margaret. I have take an Ancestry DNA test. I would love to find someone who is related to me, through this line.


Susan Shine said...

I am from South Carolina. My 2nd great grandmother was Fatima Howard. Her line led me back to:

Robert John Howard
Robert John Howard
Birth JAN 1537 • London, Middlesex, , England
Death 1598 • Tybbenham, Norfolk, England

I was told that the Howard line was one of the hardest to prove. I have taken the Ancestry DNA test and would love to have a match in this line. Please contact me if you show up in my Matches.


Lyle Howard said...

A lot of American Howards would be happy if Edward Fitzalan-Howard would have his DNA tested. Surely someone out there is closely enough related to him to give a sample. For what it is worth, I am a Howard and my DNA is R1b1a2a1a1c1a, Z306 (so says Experimental Tree, can't remember the website but can come up with it if asked). My line stops at King and Queen County, Virginia, in the early 1700's but DNA searches on AncestryDNA keep bringing up allied families to the Virginia and Maryland Howards and what seem to be allied English families. If you hunt around a bit you can find a smattering of information on Thomas H and Margaret Tudor. I remember reading about them in the Calendar of State Papers.