Earl of Nottingham (1399-1405)
'Earl Marshal' (1399-1405)
Born 1385 Died 1405

The eldest son of Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, this Thomas was just fourteen years old at the time of his father's death in exile in Venice on the 22nd September 1399, just shortly before the deposition of Richard II and his replacement by Henry IV. The elder Thomas Mowbray had been exiled as a result of a quarrel with the very Henry who was now king, the cause of which appears to have been a well founded suspicion that he had been involved in the murder of Henry's uncle Thomas of Woodstock at Calais. Henry appears to have retained doubts regarding the loyalty and trustworthiness of the Mowbray family and thus the young Thomas was not allowed to assume the title of Duke of Norfolk, and was only permitted to succeed to the lower ranked title of Earl of Nottingham.

Thomas was also allowed to retain the title of Earl Marshal (which had been granted as an herditary right to his father) but this was dissociated from the actual office of Marshal of England, which was granted for life to Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland. Neither did Thomas as a minor, yet have control over his family estates, and he was alloted only a small income specifically set aside from the revenues of the Marcher Lordship of Gower to pay for his support and that of his younger brother John.

Doubtless Thomas felt slightly aggrieved at his treatment by Henry and therefore became associated with the party opposed to the Lancastrian usurpation and sympathetic to the Mortimer claim to the throne. In February 1405 he was forced to admit his knowledge of a plot to free the two young Mortimer children and spirit them away to Wales, but having assured Henry that he had taken no active part in the affair he escaped any punishment. But almost immediately after this Thomas quarrelled with Richard Beauchamp, 5th Earl of Warwick over the question of whose earldom had precedence. (These things mattered at the time). At a meeting of the council on the 1st March 1405, Henry IV decided in favour of Richard Beauchamp, and Thomas left the court in an angry mood.

At this time Richard le Scrope, Archbishop of York, acting in concert with Henry Percy, planned to raise a revolt against Henry at York. Thomas Mowbray joined with Scrope and together they raised an army and marched north, apparently with the intention of joining up with Henry Percy. They were however intercepted by the Earl of Westmorland at Shipton Moor and both taken prisoner. Condemned as a traitor for his participation in this revolt, Thomas was beheaded at York on the 8th of June 1405.

Thomas was married, sometime towards the end of the year 1400, to the king's niece, Constance Holland, whose father John Holland, former Duke of Exeter, had been beheaded in the January of that year as a result of his participation in the Epiphany Rising. There where however no children from this marriage and thus Thomas was succeeded by his younger brother John.


Note that since his father had merely been exiled and not attainted and was thus permitted to retain his titles, there was arguably no legal bar on the inheritance by Thomas of the title of Duke of Norfolk and he is therefore sometimes spoken of as the 2nd 'de jure' Duke of Norfolk, with the subsequent holders renumbered.


SOURCES

  • Mowbray family history at http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/mowbrayfh/ Itsself sourced from;
    The Mowbray Journal, eds. William Mowbray and Stephen Goslin, 1976-79.
    Burke's Extinct Peerages, pp 386 - 388.
  • The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica entry for MOWBRAY
    See http://1911encyclopedia.org/index.htm

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.