Surrey was the son of the most powerful magnate in early Tudor history, Lord Thomas Howard, the third Duke of Norfolk. He was known as the Poet Earl and is recognised as having greater influence over the subsequent development of English verse than any other man in history. He first composed sonnets in what is now widely called the Shakespearean style, and left us the first use of blank verse in his translation of Virgil's Aeneid. Surrey was executed for his supposed opposition to Henry VIII after his own father testified against him! He was beheaded two days prior to the King's death on January 21st 1547. Surrey's father, also awaiting execution on the 24th was reprieved.
The Tomb of the Third Duke of Norfolk
In this tomb lies Thomas Howard, King's Treasurer, Earl Marshall of England and third Duke of Norfolk. The dagger-like beard of the Duke has been commented on, as has the beauty of the the apostles, each with his own alcove around the outside of the tomb. It is rare for this kind of workmanship to have survived the Cromwellian purges. The helmet above the tomb is the Flodden Helmet, first used at the funeral of the second Duke who led the English to victory over the Scots at the battle of Flodden in 1513.
The Tomb of Sir Robert Hitcham
In the east corner is the tomb of Robert Hitcham, one of Framlingham's favourite sons and benefactors. Mentioned several times across this website, he is remembered for his many contributions to the poor of the community. This is echoed in the inscription on the tomb, which is guarded by four beautifully carved angels. Here is a modern translation of the inscription on Hitcham's tomb.
In expectation of the coming of our Lord Jesus, Here lyeth the body of Sir Robert Hitcham- Knight. Born at Levington in the county of Suffolk. Scholar in the Free-school at Ipswich and sometime of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge; and after of Grays Inn. Attorney to Queen Anne in the first year of King James, then knighted, and afterward made the King's senior servant at law, and often judge of assizes. Aged 64 years. Died the 15th of August. ANNO 1636.
The Children not yet born, with gladness shall
Thy pious actions into memory call;
And thou shalt live as long as there shall be,
Either poor, or any use of charity.
The Other Tombs
To the north another tomb bears the effigies of two wives of the 4th Howard duke. One (pictured right) rests her head on a horse and her feet on a stag, while the second is cushioned by a tiger and a wyvern respectively. One wonders if this was intended to reflect aspects their personalities, or whether indeed, they would have wished to be buried alongside each other. It is interesting to note the detail present in the praying hands of these figures when the faces are so stylised and featureless.
Following the east wall we come to the tomb of Henry Fitzroy, the Duke of Richmond, which seems modest compared to its neighbours. Henry was the illegitimate son of Henry VIII and tragically, died at the age of seventeen. This tomb is noted for its carved frieze depicting bible stories.