Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk

Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk

Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk KG GCVO VD PC (27 December 1847–11 February 1917) was the son of Henry Granville Fitzalan-Howard, 14th Duke of Norfolk and Augusta Mary Minna Catherine Lyons. In 1900 at age 53 he went to the Second Boer War and in the same year he was named honorary Freeman of the City of Sheffield.


As is common with the Dukes of Norfolk (but exceptional in the Peerage of England), he was a Roman Catholic. In his dual role as Premier Duke and most prominent Roman Catholic in the realm, he undertook a program of philanthropy which served in part to reintegrate Roman Catholics into civic life. He was born a generation after the Catholic Relief Act 1829 but before the reconstitution of Roman Catholic dioceses in 1850. By the time he came of age as Duke in 1868, the process of Catholic Emancipation had made the establishment of Catholic institutions legal, but the reality of two hundred years of legislation in favour of the Church of England left Roman Catholics with few structures of their own.

His first major benefaction commemorated his coming of age as Duke. In his ancestral seat of Arundel (being also one of the Earls of Arundel), he sponsored the construction of the Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri between 1868 and 1873. This church was later chosen to serve as Arundel Cathedral in 1965 and rededicated in 1971 to include St Philip Howard, 20th Earl of Arundel, an ancestor.

In 1877, he married his first wife, Lady Flora Hastings. He later wrote, 'Shortly after my most happy marriage, I wished to build a church as a thank-offering to God.' To commemorate this occasion, he undertook construction of a church in his titular ancestral seat in Norwich, Norfolk. After commencing in 1882 with a gift of £200,000, construction would not be completed until 1910, nearly 23 years after Lady Flora's death in 1887. This church was also later chosen to serve as St John the Baptist Cathedral, Norwich when the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia was re-established in 1976.

The 15th Duke also donated funds for the building of the University of Sheffield and was its initial Chancellor. With Baron Anatole von Hügel, he also co-founded St Edmund's House, Cambridge. He was also a significant contributor to the Father Damien fund to fight leprosy. He also contributed funds to the construction of major Roman Catholic churches in Canada.

Personal life

His first wife, Lady Flora Paulyna Hetty Barbara Abney Hastings, daughter of the 1st Baron Donington and the Countess of Loudon gave him a son:
*Philip Joseph Mary Fitzalan-Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey, who died in 1902, at age 22, unmarried.
Secondly, the duke married Gwendolen Constable-Maxwell, the eldest daughter of the 11th Lord Herries of Terregles and Hon. Angela Mary Charlotte Fitzalan-Howard. They had 4 children:
*Lady (Mary) Rachel Fitzalan-Howard (1905-1992), married 1. (1939) Colin Keppel Davidson, 2. (1961) Anthony Hilton Pepys
*Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk (1908-1975), married (1937) Hon. Lavinia Mary Strutt
*Lady Katherine Mary Fitzalan-Howard, (1912-2000), married (1940) (Joseph) Anthony Moore Phillips
*Lady Winefride Alice Fitzalan-Howard, (1914–2006), married (1943) John Edward Broke Freeman

Titles and honours


*The Hon. Henry Fitzalan-Howard (1847–1856)
*Henry Fitzalan-Howard, Earl of Arundel & Surrey (1856–1860)
*His Grace The Most Noble Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk (1860–1917)


*Knight of The Most Noble Order of The Garter (1886)
*Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
*Volunteer Officer's Decoration
*Privy Council of the United Kingdom

ee also

* Dukes of Norfolk family tree

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