May 21, 2010

House of Treason: the rise and fall of a Tudor Dynasty

By Br. Benet S. Exton *

By Br. Benet S. Exton *

Robert Hutchinson. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009. 340 pages. ISBN 978-0-297-84564-5.

Robert Hutchinson has written another wonderful book. This one is about the noble Howard family. The Howards were living in England during the reign of the Tudors. Some of them were both involved in the government and converts to Catholicism. Needless to say, this caused them a few problems, and a cost at least one of them his life.

The Howards were involved in the government of England because they were a high ranking family with royal blood. Their royal bloodlines became a source of trouble in some cases. For example, a few of the early dukes became too proud of their blood line. They were then seen as competitors for the throne.

Of course, whoever was King or Queen at the time was protective of their own personal interests. The conflict between the two houses was aggravated by the fact that the Howards might have had a better claim to the throne than did the Tudors due to their Plantagenet connections. In this manner, some of the Dukes of Norfolk ran afoul of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I and were executed for treason.

Hutchinson describes all of the intrigues and excitement that are a part of this family’s history. One of the most notable of their escapades included Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel. Phillip was arrested after converting to Catholicism. He was imprisoned and died in the Tower of London. He was canonized a saint in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. His experience did not deter the Howard family from their Catholic which signified nothing if not the continuation of their problems.

The book ends with the advent of the reign of the Stuarts and the survival of the Howard family after the fall of the Tudors.

The book is recommended to those who are interesting in the Catholic history of England, in Tudor England, or in the history of Great Britain.

Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B., St. Gregory's University, Shawnee, Oklahoma.


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