This theory on Matthew Howard's ancestry was proposed by James E. Moss
in Providence, Ye Lost Towne at Severn in Maryland.1
His theory was that Thomas HOWARD (son of Thomas HOWARD, Duke of Norfolk,
and his second wife. Thomas also had a son Thomas by his first wife.) and
Margaret DOUGLAS (granddaughter of King Henry VII, niece of King Henry VIII)
had a son Robert born about Jan. 1537 that was secreted away to live with
He based this on a pedigree from the College of Arms that lists a Robert
HOWARD born ca. 1530 of Brockdish, Norfolk, and wife Philippa BUXTON.
The pedigree listed 11 children for Robert, two of them being John HOWARD
who married ----- LOCK and had 8 children (not named) and Matthew HOWARD
who married Margaret ARTHUR and had sons named Matthew and Samuel. In 1714
Matthew and Richard HOWARD of London, great-grandsons of Matthew HOWARD
and Margaret ARTHUR, were granted arms that Moss stated were the basic arms
of the Ducal HOWARDs, with the inclusion of a mullet (Star). He stated the
mullet/star is the basic symbol of the Scottish clan DOUGLAS, and that he
believed that these 1714 arms indicated that Robert was a child of Lord
Thomas HOWARD and Lady Margaret DOUGLAS.
Because of the use of the names Matthew and Samuel in the Brockdish line,
he felt that Matthew of Virginia who named a son Samuel "must" be connected
to the Brockdish line.
Moss listed that John, son of Robert HOWARD of Brockdish was baptized 1 Dec. 1578
and married to Elizabeth LOCK, (daughter of Samuel LOCK) at Thorpe Abbotts,
Norfolk, where all their children were also baptized.
The Thorpe Abbots Parish register4 was microfilmed by the Family History
Library in 2001, and was catalogued and given a microfilm number in late 2002.
In examination of the register, it was found that Moss made several errors.
The first is that the marriage occurred on xxvii  November 1607, not
26 Nov. 1606 as stated by Moss. There is no statement regarding her parents
in the marriage record. NONE of the children of John and Elizabeth were
baptized at Thorpe Abbots as stated by Moss.
The baptisms of all 6 children were found recorded at Brockdish.5 Moss changed
dates as given in the register to the modern Gregorian Calendar, with no
statement he had done so. Below are comparisons of the information of
Moss, with that in the Brockdish Parish register. Dates in brackets are
inferred dates from sequencing in the register, but double dating was not
used in the register.
Moss Brockdish register
1. Robert HOWARD bap. 27 Nov. 1608 Robert 27 November 1608
2. Daniel HOWARD bap. 25 Feb. 1610 Danyell xxv  Feb. 1609 [1609/10]
3. John HOWARD bap. 30 Jan. 1612 Jhon 30 June 1612
4. Thomas HOWARD bap. 4 Apr. 1614 Thomas 4 Apr. 1614
5. Grace HOWARD bap. 15 Apr. 1616 Grace 15 Apr. 1616
6. Mary HOWARD bap. 5 Mar. 1618 Marye 5 Mar. 1617 [1617/8]
Moss believed that Matthew and Henry of Virginia must be children, as the
Robert HOWARD pedigree chart from the College of Arms stated there were 8
children. Not mentioned by Moss, is that the Brockdish register also
contained the burial of "Elizabeth HOWARD the wiffe of John HOWARD" on
21 Aug. 1627. This is important in showing that John HOWARD was still
living at Brockdish at that time. If John and Elizabeth had children born
after Mary in 1617/8, it would be strange that their baptisms would not
have been recorded.
One piece of circumstantial evidence offered by Moss in his theory was that
Matthew HOWARD's son Samuel was named after Matthew's maternal grandfather,
Sameul LOCK. Moss did not list a source for the father of Elizabeth being
named Samuel. As the marriage of John and Elizabeth occurred at Thorpe Abbots,
and their children were born at Brockdish where John was from, the inference is
that Thorpe Abbbots was Elizabeth's home. No Samuel LOCK having children in
the late 1500s was found at Brockdish. A Robert LOCKE and wife Joane did have
a daughter Elizabeth baptized on 21 April 1583, the only Elizabeth of the
proper age to have married in 1607 found in the Thorpe Abbots register.
To first address just the family of John, one thing which Moss did not address,
is that the marriage date and spacing of children would make it unlikely
that Matthew HOWARD could have been born before about mid to late 1619,
more likely the first half of 1620.
Matthew HOWARD can be documented in Lower Norfolk Co., VA prior to 26 Oct. 1637
when he was mentioned in a court record. According to Warfield in The
Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Matthew HOWARD was involved
with a Mr. EVANS in a law suit in 1635. At present, noone seems to have
located or know the source of this record.
If Warfield's date was accurate and could be verified, that would make Matthew
only age 15 (at the most) when involved in this law suit, and highly unlikely
that he was a son of John HOWARD and Elizabeth LOCK. The 1637 record would mean
that Matthew at most would have been just been turning 18, and since he would
had to have been in VA for several months wouldn't have been over 17 when he
Another fact to consider is that Richard HALL's will written 16 Nov. 1648
mentioned 6 of Matthew's children. If one had just been born, then (without
twins) children would have been born about 1648, 1646, 1644, 1642, 1640, and
1638. Note also the 6 July 1640 court deposition of Simon PEETER that Matthew
HOWARD's wife went walking and left the CHILDREN (not child) crying, implying
there were apparently at least 2 children by this date. If a first child was
born by about 1638, then they had to have married by about 1637, when Matthew
was probably not yet 18, if he were a son of John HOWARD and Elizabeth LOCK.
The second point to address is Moss' contention that Thomas HOWARD and
Margaret DOUGLAS had a son, and that he is the Robert HOWARD of Brockdish.
The foundation of Moss' theory is based on the 1714 coat-of-arms granted
to Matthew and Richard HOWARD of London. The arms are given as "Arms,
Gules on a Bend Argent, between Six Cross Croslets Fitche Or, a Mullet
between two Cinqfoils of the first: Crest a Demi Wolf proper, Collard Gules,
and thereon a Mullet between two Cinqfoils Or, holding between his Paws a
Cross Croslet Fitche Gold."2
Not mentioned by Moss was that a Mullet was also an object used to show
cadence, the different steps in descent of a family. A Mullet was used for
a third son. Were the Mullet used as a symbol of the Douglas family, it
should have been used in a charge of three, not alone. If the 1714 arms
were meant to show a connection between the Howard and Douglas families,
there should have been an impalement of the arms of both families, side
by side. There should also have appeared wording in the grant recognizing
them as a cadet branch of the Ducal HOWARD family. The wording indicated
they were not, and were a separate HOWARD family.3
An alternate version of Robert HOWARD's ancestry was given in 1897 by
A. P. Burke.6 It's accuracy is unknown, but given here for
1. Sir John HOWARD, Knt. purchased the manor of Brockdish in 1457, had son:
2. Robert HOWARD had son:
3. William HOWARD and second wife Margaret had son:
4. Robert HOWARD and wife Joan had son:
5. Thomas HOWARD and wife Alice WYTH had two sons:
6. Robert and William
Robert married Phillipa BUXTON.
A William HOWARD appeared in the Brockdish Parish register with children:
1. Robert 4 Dec. 1558
2. William 10 Mar. 1560 [1559/60]
3. Joane 4 Apr. 1563
4. John 13 Feb. 1565 [1565/6]; bur. 16 Feb. 1565 [1565/6]
5. Anne 27 Sep. 1567
William, Sr. was buried 12 Aug. 1567. He left a will that was proved the
same year.7 Those records are not microfilmed by the FHL, and the will has
not been read at this time. This William may be the brother of Robert, and
son of Thomas HOWARD and Alice WYTH, if the above pedigree as given by Burke
is correrct. Due to his having a son Robert baptized in 1558, it is also
possible that he is the father of Robert HOWARD who married Phillipa BUXTON,
if Robert were only age 16 when he married.
In summation, the entire foundation of Moss' theory rested on his belief
that the use of the Mullet on the 1714 arms showed a relation between the
HOWARD and DOUGLAS families. The actual arms and the way the Mullet was
displayed would dispute Moss' contention that it was used to show a relation
to the DOUGLAS family. When that disappears, his entire theory falls apart.
Not only has no evidence been found to show that Matthew HOWARD was a son
of John HOWARD and Elizabeth LOCK, but evidence that the HOWARD family of
Brockdish was descended from Thomas HOWARD and Margaret DOUGLAS is entirely
lacking. Moss' theory would appear to be nothing more than an attempt
to provide an illustriuous flavor to his novel.
1. James E. Moss in Providence, Ye Lost Towne at Severn in Maryland.
(Washington, D.C.: by author, 1976).
2. Moss, 538.
3. Karen Repko, 14 August 2002, post #10388 to Genforum, Howard Family
Genealogy Forum. See post #10299 for her background on familiarity
with English sources. For defintions of words used in Heraldry see
Pimbley's Dictionary of Heraldry.
4. Church of England parish register, unpaginated, Thorpe Abbots, Norfolk,
England, FHL microfilm 2,262,434, item 1.
5. Church of England parish register, unpaginated, Brockdish, Norfolk,
England, FHL microfilm 2,147,116, item 1.
6. Ashworth P. Burke, Family Records, (New York, N.Y.: Heraldic
Publishing Company, Inc., 1965), pp. 254-255. [reprint of 1897]
7. Miss M. A. Farrow, L.L.A., Index of Wills Proved in the Consistory
Court of Norwich, (Norfolk Record Society, 1950) citing the location
of the original as 1567, 103 Bun.
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