HOWARD, Sir William (c.1599-1672), of Tollesbury Hall, Tollesbury, Essex

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



1640 (Apr.)

Family and Education

b. c.1599,1 6th s. but 4th surv. of Thomas Howard, 1st earl of Suffolk, ld. chamberlain 1603-14 and ld. treas. 1614-18, with his 2nd w. Catherine, da. and coh. of Sir Henry Knyvet† of Charlton, Wilts. and wid. of Richard Rich of Rochford Hall, Essex; bro. of Sir Edward II*, Henry*, Sir Robert*, Sir Thomas*, Theophilus, Lord Howard de Walden*.2 educ. ?G. Inn 1628.3 cr. KB 3 Nov. 1616.4 d. by 7 Aug. 1672.5

Offices Held

Gent. of privy chamber, Prince Charles’s Household 1623,6 Charles I’s Household, in extraordinary 1631, in ordinary 1636;7 lt. band of gent. pens., 1639-at least 1642.8

?Commr. new buildings, London 1634,9 ?impediments on R. Wey, Surr. 1635.10


Howard should not be confused with his cousin and namesake, the son of Lord William Howard of Naworth, who was knighted on 8 Dec. 1623 and died in 1642. The Naworth branch of the family’s estates were concentrated in the North - indeed Lord William was the principal electoral patron at Morpeth - and consequently it is unlikely that Lord William’s son would have sought election in Wiltshire. Another cousin and namesake, the son of Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel, was created a knight of the Bath at Charles I’s Coronation on 1 Feb. 1626, a fortnight after this Member was returned for Cricklade for the third time. It is difficult to distinguish between the two men during the latter part of Howard’s career until Arundel’s son became Viscount Stafford in 1640.11

Howard himself was a younger son of the 1st earl of Suffolk, successively lord chamberlain and lord treasurer. He was created a knight of the Bath at the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1616, but was involved in unruly behaviour at the subsequent City banquet, which continued at The Mitre in Fleet Street, where he brawled with a son of William, 5th Lord Monteagle.12 The following year Suffolk provided him with an income in the form of a share in the grant of fines upon writs in the King’s Bench.13 By 1623 he was a gentleman of Prince Charles’ privy chamber, probably thanks to his elder brother Sir Thomas*, who was the prince’s master of the Horse, and in March of that year Howard was sent to join his master in Spain.14

Howard presumably owed his election for Cricklade to the Parliaments of 1624, 1625 and 1626 to his father, the earl of Suffolk, the major electoral patron of the borough. His elder brother, Sir Thomas, had represented Cricklade in 1621, but had since been raised to the peerage as Viscount Andover and was consequently no longer eligible to sit. Howard appears only once in the surviving records of the last Jacobean Parliament, on 12 Mar., when he was among those named to deliver a message to the Lords relaying Sir Edward Seymour’s information that Catholics were smuggling bullion abroad.15 He left no trace on the records of the 1625 Parliament. Howard may have been the unnamed son of the earl of Suffolk proposed in early 1626 by Dr. Samuel Collins, provost of King’s College, Cambridge, as a candidate for Cambridge University, where Suffolk was chancellor. However, the countess of Suffolk declined the offer, writing that her sons were ‘all sure of places in the West Country’.16 Sickness appears to have prevented Howard from attending the Commons in the early stages of the 1626 Parliament as his absence from the call of the House on 5 Apr. 1626 was excused on the grounds of ill health. He was still absent when, on 22 Apr., John Glanville reported that Howard, together with his brother Sir Robert, were among those Members whom the committee for the charges against the duke of Buckingham thought had pertinent information. The committee was subsequently given power to send for him. Glanville reported Howard’s evidence to the Commons on 2 May. The contents of this report are unknown, but it seems likely that Howard spoke to the same effect as Sir Robert, who testified concerning the money allegedly paid by Buckingham to their elder brother Thomas, earl of Berkshire, to surrender his claims to the mastership of the Horse on Charles I’s accession.17 Howard was not re-elected in 1628, possibly because Suffolk had died during the 1626 Parliament, so extinguishing the Howard interest at Cricklade.18

Howard was appointed lieutenant of the gentleman pensioners in 1639, an office said to be worth £300 p.a., and was elected for Old Sarum to the Short Parliament, probably thanks to William Cecil*, 2nd earl of Salisbury, who controlled the borough jointly with the earl of Pembroke (Philip Herbert*). Howard attended the king at Oxford during the Civil War, but appears to have played little part in the royalist cause. He compounded for his estate with the parliamentarian authorities in 1646, when he was fined £500, but having paid half in Mar. 1647 the House of Lords recommended that the remainder should be remitted, on the grounds that he had lost his lieutenancy and he ‘was looked upon by the king’s party as a person that adhered to the Parliament’.19

Howard made his will on 7 July 1672, in which he bequeathed £150 to servants, £100 to his nephew, James, earl of Suffolk, and the remainder of his estate to his brother Edward, 1st Baron Escrick. He had died by 7 Aug. following, when his will was proved, and was buried in St Mary-le-Savoy, the Strand.20

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Ben Coates


  • 1. Top. and Gen. i. 470; H. Haines, Manual of Monumental Brasses, 54.
  • 2. Collins, Peerage, iii. 153-4; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 562.
  • 3. GI Admiss.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 159.
  • 5. PROB 11/339, f. 324.
  • 6. Autobiog. of Sir Simonds D’Ewes ed. J.O. Halliwell, ii. 415.
  • 7. LC5/132, p. 282; 5/134, p. 98.
  • 8. Badminton House, FM H2/4/1, f. 18v; Autobiog. of Sir Simonds D’Ewes, ii. 303.
  • 9. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, ii. 234.
  • 10. T. Rymer, Foedera, ix. pt. 1, p. 19.
  • 11. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 161; ii. 159; Oxford DNB sub Howard, William, Visct. Stafford.
  • 12. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 35.
  • 13. C66/435/119.
  • 14. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 528.
  • 15. CJ, i. 684a.
  • 16. King’s Coll. Lib. Camb., ms KCAR/1/2/16, vol. iv. no. 59.
  • 17. Procs 1626, ii. 431; iii. 47, 121, 123.
  • 18. CP, xii. pt. 1, p. 465
  • 19. L. Stone, ‘Electoral influence of the second earl of Salisbury’ EHR, lxxi. 398; LJ, ix. 57; Strangers in Oxford ed. M. Toynbee and P. Young 234; CCC, 1165.
  • 20. PROB 11/339, f. 324; 11/347, f. 259.