The Howard family were a maritime family who rose through the ranks and became close to the Tudors (Catherine Howard). I have a DNA match to the descendants of Catherine Howard.
Lord Howard circa 1600 was the founder of the English branch of the Dutch East India Company and successfully lobbied James I to get Charters to found the colony of Virginia. He operated his ships out of Cornwall, Norfolk, Yorkshire,London and Bristol.
We're not sure where Mary Howard fitted in but it is probably the same family. The Gross family moved in very high court circles in England, Belgium and Spain between 1400-1670, as my branch of the family owned lots of ships.
It is increasingly looking like the Kelsale Gross family had very big connections between 1425 and 1550. William Gross , Equerry to Edward IV and Henry VI, Mercer (wool merchant) in London, and associate of William Caxton in Bruges Belgium, obtained lands at Kelsale (Kylveshall) in 1450 from his ancestral family in Norfolk. This is mentioned in his Will proved in Norfolk. John Gross of Kelsale received these lands after his grandfather William died. The lands were mentioned in the Le Gros family of Norfolk records in the 13th century.
In 1407-1453 the ancestral le Gros family was headed by Sir Oliver le Gros of Sloley and Crostwick, who was sheriff of Norfolk between 1407-1416, and as such commanded a large Norfolk navy.
The Kelsale Gross family and my family the ship owners were a parallel branch of the family in Norfolk, who had a very long history of supplying luxuries, supplying armies for the Plantagenets, and handling the wool trade. They also traded in precious metals, manuscripts and artworks. Their ancestors included agents for the Italian bankers of Lucca and Florence, who had dealings with Edward III Plantagenet.
Henry V ordered Sir Oliver le Gros to mount a fleet and army and transport his brother John to relieve a siege in southern France in 1420.
Big connections indeed!