Lord William Howard

Lord William Howard (19 December 1563 7 October 1640) was an English nobleman and antiquary, sometimes known as "Belted or Bauld (bold) Will".


The third son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk (executed in 1572), and of his second wife Margaret, daughter of Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden, he was born at Audley End in Essex.

On 28 October 1577 he married his step-sister Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Dacre, 4th Baron Dacre, and proceeded subsequently to the University of Cambridge.[1] Being suspected of treasonable intentions together with his half-brother, Philip, Earl of Arundel (husband of his sister-in-law Anne Dacre), he was imprisoned in 1583, 1585 and 1589. He joined the Church of Rome in 1584, both brothers being dispossessed by the queen of a portion of their Dacre estates, which were, however, restored in 1601 for a payment of £10,000.

Howard then took up his residence with his children and grandchildren at Naworth Castle in Cumberland, restored the castle, improved the estate and established order in that part of the country. In 1603, on the accession of James, he had been restored in blood. In 1618 he was made one of the commissioners for the border, and performed great services in upholding the law and suppressing marauders.

Lord William was a learned and accomplished scholar, praised by William Camden, to whom he sent inscriptions and drawings from relics collected by him from the Roman wall, as "a singular lover of valuable antiquity and learned withal." Sir Walter Scott referred to him as "Belted Will" in the Lay of the Last Minstrel. He collected a valuable library, of which most of the printed works remain at Naworth, though the manuscripts have been dispersed, a portion being now among the Arundel manuscripts in the College of Arms; he corresponded with James Ussher and was intimate with Camden, Sir Henry Spelman, and Sir Robert Cotton, whose eldest son married his daughter. He published in 1592 an edition of Florence of Worcester's Chronicon ex Chronicis, dedicated to Lord Burghley, and drew up a genealogy of his family.

He died on 7 October 1640[1] at Greystoke, to which place he had been removed when failing in health, to escape the Scots who were threatening an advance on Naworth. He had a large family of children, of whom Philip, his heir, was the grandfather of Charles, 1st Earl of Carlisle, and Francis was the ancestor of the Howards of Corby.

William Howard School, the secondary school in Brampton, Cumbria, is named after him.


  1. 1 2 "Howard, Lord William (HWRT577W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.

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Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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