Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Belted Will

Lord William Howard died this day, in 1640. Belted, or Bold Will was the 3rd son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, who was an extremely powerful noble. When Will was nine, Elizabeth I beheaded his father, Duke Thomas, over Thomas' devotion to Mary Queen of Scots. Will was imprisoned several times during the 1580's on suspicion of treasonable intentions. He became Catholic in 1584, after his first imprisonment by Elizabeth I. Elizabeth dispossessed Howard of some of his estates at this point. These were later restored for a fine of 10,000 pounds. Howard's stronghold was Naworth Castle.

Scott wrote about Belted Will in his Lay of the Last Minstrel:

'Costly his garb, his Flemish ruff,
Fell o'er his doublet, shaped of buff,
With satin slash'd and lined;
Tawny his boot and gold his spur,
His cloak was all of Poland fur,
His hose with silver twined;
His Bilboa blade, by marchmen felt,
Hung in a broad and studded belt.'

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