Henry Howard, earl of Surrey Biography


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Henry Howard, earl of Surrey from 1524, was the eldest son of Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk. The elder Howard, one of the most powerful leaders of the old nobility, saw to it that his heir received an excellent education. At the age of twelve, Surrey was translating Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish and practicing martial skills. He was selected as the companion of Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII’s illegitimate son who had been created duke of Richmond. The youths, both proud, impetuous, and insecure, were settled at Windsor in the spring of 1530. Surrey was married in 1532 to Lady Frances de Vere; the couple began living together a few years later, and he was evidently devoted to her for the rest of his life.

Surrey and Richmond accompanied the king to France in the autumn of 1532. The young men resided with the French court, then dominated by Italian culture, for most of the following year. Surrey acquired courtly graces and probably became acquainted with the work of Luigi Alamanni, a Florentine writer of unrhymed verse. Shortly after Surrey and Richmond returned to the English court, the king’s son married Surrey’s sister Mary.

In 1540, Surrey was appointed steward of the University of Cambridge in recognition of his scholarship. Having also distinguished himself in martial games, in 1541 he was made Knight of the Garter. His military education was completed when he was sent to observe the King’s continental wars. The first...

(The entire section is 535 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Henry Howard, earl of Surrey (SUR-ee), was born about 1517 into one of the most powerful noble families of sixteenth century England. His father, Sir Thomas Howard, was made third duke of Norfolk in 1524 and served for many years as Henry VIII’s earl marshal. Surrey was given a fine early education in Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian by his tutor, John Clerke. At thirteen he went to Windsor Castle to be the companion of Henry, duke of Richmond, the illegitimate son of King Henry VIII. Surrey recalled the pleasures of their life in a poem written many years later, after he had been imprisoned at Windsor.{$S[A]Howard, Henry;Surrey, Henry Howard, earl of}

The two young men accompanied King Henry to France in 1532, remaining at the court of Francis I for several months and traveling on the Continent with the sons of the French king. On their return Richmond married Surrey’s sister; Surrey had wed the young Frances de Vere, daughter of the earl of Oxford, before his trip to France, but they did not begin living together until 1535, when he was eighteen.

Surrey was given many public responsibilities once he reached manhood. He took part in the coronation ceremonies of his first cousin Anne Boleyn and later acted as earl marshal at her trial, substituting for his father, who was presiding. In 1536, Surrey accompanied Norfolk on his mission to put an end to the Pilgrimage of Grace, a rebellion of men from the northern counties in opposition to the king’s separation from the Church of Rome.

Surrey commanded forces against the French in 1539 and 1543; he was responsible for organizing the defense of Norfolk against invasion...

(The entire section is 678 words.)