House of Treason: The Rise and Fall of a Tudor Dynasty by Robert Hutchinson - review by Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson

A Rum Lot

House of Treason: The Rise and Fall of a Tudor Dynasty


Weidenfeld & Nicolson340pp £20

Robert Hutchinson, hitherto known chiefly as an expert in defence matters, has had the useful idea of illuminating the Tudor years, 1485–1603, by tracing the history of the most prominent noble house of the age, the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk. He has put a great deal of work into it, often examining the unpublished primary sources, and if he has discovered nothing new of importance, he has unearthed interesting details.

It is, on the whole, a gruesome story, of pride, greed and flaunting arrogance, blood and cruelty, cunning and stupidity. In Tudor times, prominent men and women played for high stakes, and often lost everything, including their heads. The Howards were power-gamblers, by birth and taste. The first

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