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Special Collections

Description of Special Collection

Collection Level Description: Howard Library
University Library

Collection Level Description: Howard Library

Collection name: Howard Library
Collection code: Howard
Date range: 1488-1767
Extent: ca. 200 items
Language: English; Latin
Created by: Lord William Howard (1563-1640)
Held by: Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections

Predominantly the surviving undispersed portion of the library of Lord William Howard (1563-1640), housed in his book tower at Naworth Castle, Cumberland. As it now survives, the collection comprises over 200 printed books, mainly 16th and early 17th century, predominantly continental, with one incunable, a 1488 ed. of Peter Lombard. The books strongly reflect Lord William's antiquarian interests and his Roman Catholicism. There are over 70 historical and geographical works, including a small concentration of volumes on the 16th century quarrels in Flanders, and G. Benzoni and J. da Costa on the New World. Religious works, around half the collection, include lives of saints, histories of religious orders,and works of Catholic spirituality.
About the creator:
Lord William Howard (1563-1640) was the younger son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk by his second wife Margaret, who died the year after his birth. William married Elizabeth Dacre in 1577, co-heir to the Dacre estates, and thereafter became involved in extensive litigation to claim this inheritance. His Catholicism and family connections led to several spells in the Tower of London and he was excluded from active politics. He was a leading antiquary and collector of books and manuscripts (most since dispersed) with a network of London associates. He also established himself at Naworth Castle in Cumberland (part of the Dacre inheritance) and became one of the major landowners in the region, laying the foundations for the estates of the future Howard Earls of Carlisle.
Purchased at auction in 1992 by the University Library, assisted by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, V & A Purchase Grant Fund, and Friends of the National Libraries.
Open for consultation.
Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.
The Howard Library is included in the main library catalogue, and can be found using a shelfmark search
Related collections held at Durham:
Howard Library Manuscripts
Howard of Naworth Papers
Related collections elsewhere:

Richard Ovenden and Stuart Handley, "Howard, Lord William (1563–1640)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 21 Jan 2009]

Index terms

Howard, William, Lord, 1563-1640.
Naworth Castle (Cumbria, England). Library.
Book collectors -- Great Britan -- 17th century.

Date last modified: 23 January 2009