Philip Howard, 20th Earl of Arundel

Philip Howard, 20th Earl of Arundel

Saint Philip Howard, 20th Earl of Arundel (28 June 1557 – 19 October 1595) was an English nobleman. He was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970, as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. He is variously numbered as 20th or 13th Earl of Arundel.


Born in Strand, London, he was the eldest son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk and Lady Mary FitzAlan, daughter of Henry FitzAlan, 19th Earl of Arundel. He was baptized at Whitehall Palace with the Royal Family in attendance, and was named after his godfather, King Philip II of Spain.

At the age of fourteen, he was married to his foster sister, Anne Dacre. After years of estrangement, they were reunited and built a very strong marriage.

His father was attainted and executed in 1572, but Philip Howard succeeded to his mother's heritage upon the death of his grandfather, becoming Earl of Arundel in 1580.

Howard, and much of his family, remained Catholics during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when it was very dangerous to do so. They also attempted to leave England without permission. While some might have been able to do this quietly, Howard was second cousin of the Queen. He was committed to the Tower of London on 25 April 1585. While charges of high treason were never proved, he was to spend ten years in the Tower, until his death of dysentery. He had petitioned the Queen as he lay dying to allow him to see his beloved wife and his son, who had been born after his imprisonment. The Queen responded that if he would return to Protestantism his request would be granted. He refused and died alone in the Tower. He was immediately acclaimed as a Catholic Martyr.

He was buried without ceremony beneath the floor of the church of St Peter ad Vincula, inside the walls of the Tower. Twenty nine years later, his widow and son obtained permission from King James I of England to move the body to the FitzAlan Chapel just below Arundel Castle. His tomb was moved to the Catholic cathedral in Arundel in 1971 and remains a site of pilgrimage.

He was attainted in 1589, but his son Thomas eventually was restored in blood and succeeded as Earl of Arundel, and to the lesser titles of his grandfather.


*Malcolm Brennan, "Martyrs of the English Reformation."
*Sigrid Undset, "Stages on the Road," copyright 1934.

ee also

*Howard's great-grandson, also named Philip Howard, was a Catholic cardinal.

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