HOWARD, Charles (c.1591-1653), of St. Clement Danes, Westminster; Putney Park, Surr. and New Lodge, Bray, Berks.; later of Merrow, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



16 July 1610
26 Mar. 1628

Family and Education

b. c.1591, 3rd s. of Sir William Howard† of Lingfield (d.1600) and Frances, da. of William Goldwell of Goldwell, Kent; bro. of Edward I* and Sir Francis*.1 m. lic. 3 Feb. 1621 (aged 30), Anne (bur. 11 Mar. 1636) da. Thomas St. John of St. Anne Blackfriars, London, 1s. d.v.p, 2da.2 kntd. 16 Feb. 1611.3 d. 14 Mar. 1653.4

Offices Held

Ranger of Finchamstead bailiwick and kpr. of Bagshot, Easthampstead and Blackwater walks, Windsor Forest, Berks. 1614-at least 1633, verderer by 1617-at least 1633, kpr. of seals by 1619;5 kpr. (jt.) Putney Park, Surr. 1615-26;6 comptroller of works, Windsor castle, Berks. 1616-18, steward by 1619;7 steward, Windsor and Sonning manors, Berks. 1617;8 j.p. Berks. 1617-at least 1641, Surr. 1620-at least 1642;9 kpr. of woods, manor of Cookham and Bray 1618;10 member, brotherhood of the guildhall, New Windsor, Berks. 1623;11 commr. oyer and terminer, Oxf. circ. 1623-41, Home circ. 1623-42;12 dep. lt. Surr. by 1624-at least 1628;13 commr. subsidy, Surr. 1624, 1641-2,14 martial law, Surr. 1626,15 Forced Loan 1627,16 sewers, Kent and Surr. 1634-5;17 capt. of Upnor castle, Kent by 1635-40;18 commr. array, Berks. and Surr. 1642.19

Gent. of privy chamber by 1625.20


There were innumerable Charles Howards alive in the early seventeenth century. However, the probability that the ‘Charles Howard’ returned for Bletchingley in 1610 was the same man as the ‘Sir Charles Howard’ elected for the same constituency in 1614 eliminates all but two potential candidates - the third son of Sir William Howard of Lingfield and the fourth son of Thomas Howard, 1st earl of Suffolk, both of whom were knighted between those dates. As the Howards of Effingham dominated the electoral patronage of Bletchingley, the most likely candidate is Sir William’s son, he being nephew of Charles Howard†, 1st earl of Nottingham.21 The Howards of Lingfield were frequently the beneficiaries of Nottingham’s electoral patronage, as Sir William’s eldest son, Sir Edward had been returned for Reigate for the third time in 1604, and another son, Sir Francis, was elected for New Windsor in February 1610.22

Howard was returned a week before the fourth session of the 1604-10 Parliament was prorogued. It is therefore hardly surprising that he made no impression on the parliamentary records. He also made no recorded contribution to the proceedings of the poorly documented fifth session, or to those of the Addled Parliament.

In the aftermath of the Addled Parliament, Howard was appointed to the first of numerous offices he was to hold relating to the forest and castle of Windsor, where Nottingham was constable.23 The following year he was appointed joint keeper of Putney Park, sometimes called Mortlake Park, with Sir Edward Cecil*. In addition, he received innumerable grants of reversions to other minor offices and pensions, to such an extent that by 1619 his ‘begging importunity’, as Sir John Finet described it, had become a standing joke in Court circles.24 In December of that year Nottingham was obliged to write to the marquess of Buckingham apologizing for the fact that his nephew had ‘misinformed’ the king and ‘unjustly procured’ various additional ‘offices at Windsor’, to which someone else had a better claim.25

Howard must have quickly mended his fences with Nottingham as it was almost certainly thanks to the earl’s patronage that he was returned for New Windsor the following year. In 1621 he received two committee appointments (27 Feb. and 7 May), both to consider bills concerning lighthouses. These measures would have interested him as his brother Sir Edward had obtained a patent to build a lighthouse at Dungeness in 1615, which, on his death in 1620, had passed to his remaining older brother, Sir Francis. Nevertheless, Howard did not attend the only recorded meeting of the committee for the second bill.26 Howard made one recorded speech, on 7 May, when he successfully moved for consideration of the dispute between Sir Charles Morrison* and Clement Coke* to be deferred until the following day.27

Among the Harleian manuscripts in the British Library is a document consisting of notes kept by Howard in the 1621 Parliament. The author has been identified by a reference to Sir Robert Bennet, who also sat for New Windsor in 1621, as ‘my associate’. Only part of the document takes the form of a day-to-day journal of proceedings, covering the second sitting. This is preceded by a series of entries on some significant incidents in the Commons before the Easter adjournment and is followed by notes of various orders, precedents and accounts of election disputes. The document is clearly a fair copy, containing very few corrections, and the thematic, rather than chronological, order of the first and third sections suggests that it is an edited version of a now lost text, or texts. The presence of some phrases specifically addressed by the author to a reader, for example ‘as you know’, have been taken to indicate that the text was originally derived from newsletters written by Howard. It is not known for what purpose the Harleian text was created, nor whether it was made at Howard’s instigation.28

After the 1621 Parliament Howard established himself in Surrey, settling at Putney Park lodge, and by late 1624 he was one of the county’s deputy lieutenants.29 The following year he was returned for the senior seat at Gatton. The Howards of Effingham had previously exercised electoral influence at Gatton, but it must also have been significant that Howard was a friend of Samuel Owfield, who owned the manor of Upper Gatton and had himself represented the borough in 1624.30 Howard made no recorded speeches in the 1625 Parliament and was appointed to only one committee, on 24 June, to consider a bill to prevent tippling in inns and alehouses.31

Howard was re-elected for Gatton in 1626, but once again he made no recorded speeches. However, on 22 Feb. he was appointed to the committee to consider the bill for settling the estate of John Thecker. He was also among those instructed to consider bills to prevent clergymen from serving as magistrates (10 Mar.) and to suppress unlicensed alehouses (25 March). Howard was named on 7 Mar. to attend the conference with the Lords about defence and a week later he was among those appointed to draft the bill for finding arms proposed by Thomas Wentworth I. On 25 May he was given leave to depart, and there is no evidence that he returned to the House before the dissolution.32

After the dissolution of the 1626 Parliament Owfield complained to the Privy Council that he had been overcharged by Howard in the latter’s capacity as deputy lieutenant. The Council found that Howard had previously favoured his friend ‘beyond reason’, but agreed that, ‘upon distaste between them’, he had gone too far in the other extreme. Howard’s cousin, the 2nd earl of Nottingham (Sir Charles Howard*), one of the joint lord lieutenants of Surrey, was ordered to ‘give him an admonition’.33

In late 1626 Mortlake was disparked in preparation for the sale of the lands to the chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Richard Weston*. Consequently, Howard lost the keepership and was forced to leave the lodge, although he retained the annual £30 fee.34 By early 1628 he had moved to New Lodge in the Berkshire parish of Bray, close to Windsor Forest.35 Shortly thereafter he was again returned for Gatton, having presumably been reconciled with Owfield. William Copley, the recusant owner of the manor of Gatton, returned two alternative candidates, Sir Thomas Lake II and Sir Richard Weston’s eldest son Jerome, but on 26 Mar. the Commons resolved the dispute in Howard and Owfield’s favour.36 Howard appears in the surviving parliamentary records thereafter only once, on 28 Mar., when, following complaints from Edward Bysshe, he disclaimed responsibility as deputy lieutenant for billeting soldiers in Surrey.37 Howard played no recorded part in the 1629 session.

In the early 1630s the attorney-general, William Noye*, prosecuted Howard before the sessions in eyre for Windsor Forest. In addition to accusations of misappropriating timber and threatening the local inhabitants, Noye successfully argued that Howard’s position as verderer of Windsor Forest superseded all his minor offices there, which consequently were void.38 However, as Howard seems to have been keeper of Bagshot walk in the Forest as late as October 1634, it is not clear whether this judgment was ever executed.39

Howard failed to contribute towards the raising of Charles I’s army to fight the Scottish Covenanters in 1639,40 and did not take up arms against Parliament during the Civil War. He died intestate in March 1653, administration of his goods being granted to his two daughters on 13 May.41 The daughters subsequently claimed that they were owed £2,640 for arrears of an annuity granted by the Crown to their father. In August 1654 the Council of State granted them £1,000 out of any money due to the state from royalists they discovered.42 None of the descendants of Howards’ daughters are known to have been elected to Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Ben Coates


  • 1. G. Brenan and E.P. Statham, House of Howard, ped. facing p. 372.
  • 2. London Mar. Lics. ed. J. Foster, 96; D.G. Cary Elwes, ‘Cople regs.’ N and Q (ser. 6), xi. 507; PROB 6/30, f. 176.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 150.
  • 4. SP23/238/203.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1611-18, pp. 243, 498; 1619-23, p. 81; Les Reports de Sir William Jones (1675), p. 295.
  • 6. CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 166; VCH Surr. iv. 79.
  • 7. H.M. Colvin, Hist. of King’s Works, iii. 415; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 81.
  • 8. C66/2105; 66/2132.
  • 9. C231/4, ff. 54, 112; C66/2859; ASSI 35/84/6.
  • 10. C66/2176.
  • 11. R.R. Tighe and J.E. Davis, Annals of Windsor, ii. 86.
  • 12. C181/3, ff. 89v, 90v; 181/5, ff. 191, 222.
  • 13. Berks. RO, D/ELL/02; CD 1628, ii. 168.
  • 14. C212/22/23; SR, v. 65, 155.
  • 15. C66/2384/3.
  • 16. C193/12/2, f. 57v.
  • 17. C181/3, ff. 114v, 161v.
  • 18. CSP Dom. 1635, p. 438; 1639-40, p. 527.
  • 19. Northants RO, FH133.
  • 20. LC2/5, f. 37.
  • 21. W.D. Pink, ‘Howard Knights’ N and Q, ser. 7, viii. 102; Brenan and Statham, ped. facing p. 372.
  • 22. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 347.
  • 23. Tighe and Davis, ii. 47.
  • 24. HMC Hatfield, xxii. 105.
  • 25. Fortescue Pprs. ed. S.R. Gardiner (Cam. Soc. n.s. i), 112-13.
  • 26. CJ, i. 529b, 611b; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 188.
  • 27. CD 1621, iii. 187-8.
  • 28. Ibid. vi. 97-100, printed in ibid. 281-362. The manuscript is Harl. 1058.
  • 29. He was described as being of Putney Park when he was returned in 1626. OR.
  • 30. APC, 1626, pp. 210-12.
  • 31. Procs. 1625, p. 239.
  • 32. Procs. 1626, ii. 86, 216, 246, 279, 366; iii. 332.
  • 33. APC, 1626, pp. 210-12.
  • 34. VCH Surr. iv. 79; R. Hutton, Reps. of that Reverend and Learned Judge (1656), pp. 86-7; Reps. of Sir George Croke ed. H. Grimstone (1657), pp. 43-4.
  • 35. OR.
  • 36. CD 1628, ii. 119.
  • 37. Ibid. 168.
  • 38. Les Reports de Sir William Jones, 266-7, 269, 274, 293-5.
  • 39. CSP Dom. 1634-5, p. 238.
  • 40. Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, iii. 912.
  • 41. PROB 6/30, f. 176.
  • 42. CSP Dom. 1654, p. 303.