An aristocrat whose family owns a stately home featured on Netflix hit Bridgerton has been charged with attempted rape of a woman.
The charges against the Rev. Simon Howard, 65, date back to the early 2000s and involve one woman, but he is in ill health and it is unclear whether he will be fit to stand trial at all.
For 30 years Howard was the custodian of Castle Howard, regarded as one of Britain’s greatest stately homes and made famous as the setting for Brideshead Revisited in the 1981 TV miniseries.
More recently, Castle Howard, home to ten generations of the Howard family for more than 300 years, starred as the setting in the Netflix lockdown hit Bridgerton.
Honorable Simon Howard (pictured), 65, has been charged with attempted rape of a woman – in addition to child sex crimes he is already involved in
For 30 years Howard was the custodian of Castle Howard (pictured), which became famous as the setting for Brideshead Revisited in the 1981 TV miniseries and was seen in Bridgerton
He appeared before York magistrates on Thursday, August 26, charged with three offenses against one woman.
He is facing two counts of attempted rape of a woman aged 16 or over at an address in North Yorkshire between the dates in 2003 and 2004 and a further count of indecent assault of the same woman, at the same address, also between 2003 and 2004.
He is expected to deny the allegations.
The Howard family released a statement through its publicist Abel Hadden.
It said: ‘Following an interview under police surveillance at Scarborough Police Station on Wednesday 11 August, the Hon Simon Howard of Malton, North Yorkshire, has been charged with two offenses under the Sexual Offenses Act 1956.
Castle Howard, home to ten generations of the Howard family for more than 300 years, was featured as Clyvedon Castle in the Netflix lockdown hit Bridgerton (pictured)
On the release of Bridgerton (pictured), Sally Joynson, chief executive at Screen Yorkshire, said Castle Howard looked ‘beautiful on screen in the drama’
Castle Howard, which has 145 rooms, is considered one of the most beautiful stately homes in the UK and has been featured in the classic TV series Brideshead Revisited (pictured)
‘The two alleged offenses – attempted rape and indecent assault – involved an unnamed woman of 16 years old and reported to be in Castle Howard between June 2003 and February 2004.
A hearing has been arranged on Oct. 8 to investigate whether Simon Howard, 65, can be tried on previous charges dating back to 1984.
In early 2020 he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage after a fall and was placed in a medically induced coma before spending months in a neurological rehabilitation center where he contracted Covid.
“His wife Rebecca has been told on two separate occasions that he may only have a few hours left to live.
“Simon Howard’s entire family is shocked by these new allegations and stands 100 percent behind SH’s determination to defend itself against these alleged charges.”
Howard will face trial at the Crown Court in York later this year on historic charges of child abuse.
According to a statement, ‘the two alleged crimes – attempted rape and indecent assault’ allegedly took place at Castle Howard (pictured) between June 2003 and February 2004′
In 2014, Simon Howard, his wife Rebecca (both pictured) and their two children left the 18th-century 10,000-acre estate
Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and built between 1699 and 1712, Castle Howard has been home to ten generations of the Howard family for over 300 years.
Castle Howard, which has 145 rooms, is considered one of the most beautiful stately homes in the UK and has also doubled as Brideshead in the classic TV series Brideshead Revisited, as well as Clyvedon Castle in Bridgerton.
It has a wonderful art collection with old sculptures, old masters and works by Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.
Castle Howard and the larger 10,000-acre 18th-century estate are owned by Castle Howard Estates Ltd, of which Simon Howard and his older brother Nicholas were each 50 percent shareholders.
The estate was the fictional Brideshead, both in Granada Television’s 1981 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and a 2008 two-hour remake (pictured) for cinema
In 2014, Simon Howard, his wife Rebecca and their two children left the 18th-century 10,000-acre estate.
Nicholas, 68, and his wife Victoria Barnsley, 66, are said to have held a summit with Mr Howard telling him they would move in to replace him.
When asked to leave the ancestral seat where he’d lived all his life and sailed like a “tight ship” for 30 years, “his heart ripped out,” friends claimed.
He and Rebecca, 53, a descendant of the Sieff family who founded Marks and Spencer, left home with their then 12-year-old twins and moved into the sprawling Welham Hall manor house in Malton.
The Howard family is descended from Lord William Howard, the youngest son of Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk.
Lord William, known as ‘Belted Will’, took possession of Henderskelfe in Yorkshire, the site of Castle Howard as it stands today, as part of the estate of his wife, Elizabeth Dacre.
Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle (1679-1738) is credited as the creator of the Castle Howard home and gardens as it is seen today.
The estate was the fictional Brideshead, both in Granada Television’s 1981 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and a 2008 two-hour film remake.
It has also hosted ITV’s hit series Victoria, Sky’s The Queen & I, BBC drama Death Comes To Pemberley and feature film Garfield 2.
On Bridgerton’s release, Sally Joynson, chief executive at Screen Yorkshire said: ‘Bridgerton’s global success demonstrates Yorkshire’s robust credentials as a world-leading destination for filmmaking and Castle Howard looks stunning on screen in the drama, where it acts as the location for Simon Basset’s Estate.’