Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton was an important English aristocrat and courtier. He was suspect as a crypto-Catholic throughout his life, and went through periods of royal disfavour, in which his reputation suffered greatly. He was distinguished for learning, artistic culture and his public charities. He built Northumberland House in London and superintended the construction of the fine house of Audley End. He founded and planned several hospitals. Francis Bacon included three of his sayings in his Apophthegms, and chose him as "the learnedest councillor in the kingdom to present to the king his Advancement of Learning." After his death, it was discovered that he had been involved in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury.
Following the resolution of the succession dispute between the daughters of Ferdinando, Earl of Derby and their uncle, William, Earl of Derby, it was ruled that the daughters of Ferdinando were the rightful heirs to the title of Lord of Mann. As the oldest of them would not reach the age of majority until 1609, two temporary Lords of Mann were appointed by James I, using letters patent, so that the daughters could benefit from the Island's revenues. The first of them was Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton.