HOWE, Sir Scrope (1648-1713), of Langar, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. Nov. 1648, 1st s. of John Grobham Howe I, and bro. of John Grobham Howe II and Emmanuel Scrope Howe†. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1665. m. (1) 20 Apr. 1672 (with £10,000), Lady Anne Manners, da. of John Manners†, 8th Earl of Rutland, 2s. d.v.p. 3da.; (2) lic. 15 July 1698, Juliana, da. of William Alington, 3rd Baron Alington of Killard [I], 2s. 3da. Kntd. 11 Mar. 1663; suc. fa. 1679; cr. Visct. Howe [I] 16 May 1701.1
Commr. for assessment, Glos. and Notts. 1673-80, Notts. 1689-90; j.p. Notts. 1674-80, Feb. 1688-d.; dep. lt. Notts. Feb. 1688-d., Leics. 1690-bef. 1701; commr. for inquiry into recusancy fines, Notts., Derbys. and Lincs. Mar. 1688; capt. of militia horse, Notts, by 1697-?d.2
Comptroller of excise 1693-1710.3
Stimulated by the example of Lord Deincourt (Robert Leke), Howe eloped with the sister of John Manners in the spring of 1672. It was five years before her family was finally reconciled to the match and paid over her portion, through the good offices of Lord Shaftesbury (Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper). In the meantime his standing in Nottinghamshire, where he enjoyed an estate of £3,000 p.a., was unimpaired. His success at a by-election in the following year marked a gain for the country party. But he was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, with a mere dozen committee appointments and speaking briefly and infrequently. With Robert Pierrepont and John Man he gave evidence against Lauderdale in 1673. In 1675 he was appointed to two committees for excluding Papists from Parliament and discouraging the growth of Popery, and acted as teller for the motion to appropriate the customs to the use of the navy. He earned the mark of ‘thrice worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list in 1677 by complaining to the House about the necessity for Members to obtain permission before visiting the opposition lords in the Tower. He again acted as teller for the country party on the motion on 5 Feb. 1678 deprecating irregular adjournments of the House. On 5 Dec. he carried the impeachment of Lord Stafford to the Upper House, and a fortnight later he was one of four Members entrusted with collecting the papers of Ralph Montagu from their hiding-place.4
Howe was re-elected to all three Exclusion Parliaments, and marked ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury. He made no speeches and was not active in committee. In the first Exclusion Parliament he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, but he was ordered to be sent for in custody as a defaulter on a call of the House on 25 Apr. 1679. He was later appointed to the committee to secure the better attendance of Members, as well as to the inquiry into the decay of woollen manufactures, but he probably paired for the division on the exclusion bill, since he did not apply for leave to go into the country until the last day of the session. In June 1680 he encouraged the Middlesex grand jury to present the Duke of York as a Popish recusant. In the second Exclusion Parliament he was appointed to a minor committee of inquiry into the Popish Plot, and at Oxford only to the elections committee. He offered to stand bail for Shaftesbury in 1682, and his arms were seized after the Rye House Plot. He had rashly laid himself open not only to an action of scandalum magnatum for calling the Duke of York a Popish dog, but even to charges of treason, since information was laid that he had promised to place his wealth at Monmouth’s command. John Millington wrote to Halifax that he now
associated himself with Sir William Clifton and the loyal gentlemen, cursing my Lord Shaftesbury that ever he was born; but this is looked upon to palliate from words he hath lately spoken, highly reflecting upon the Government and especially the Duke of York.
He promised to ‘walk very inoffensively and dutifully’ in future, and when he was charged in the King’s bench in January 1685 the indictment was withdrawn. His name was put forward as Whig candidate for the county at the general election, but the Duke of Newcastle (Henry Cavendish) obliged him to sign a formal withdrawal. After the election Newcastle wrote to Sunderland: ‘I believe he will be very loyal’, and his arms were restored to him. As James II’s reign proceeded, Howe grew closer to the Tories, describing Lord Clarendon (Henry Hyde) as behaving extremely well. He was in contact with Dykvelt in 1687, and was reckoned an opponent of James II by Danby. Nevertheless the Government still had hopes of him as a Whig collaborator, adding him to the lieutenancy and the commission of the peace, and inserting his name among the miscellaneous batch of dissenters and Roman Catholics to inquire into recusancy fines.5
At the Revolution Howe raised a troop of horse for William of Orange and occupied Leicester, but Halifax found ‘nothing particular intended’ as a reward for his services. He regained his seat at the general election of 1689, and became an inactive Member of the Convention. He was appointed to eight committees, including those to inquire into the sending of children abroad to be educated as Papists and to inspect the Journals about the Popish Plot. After the recess he was added to the committee for reversing the attainder of Sir Thomas Armstrong, and was teller for recommitting the proposed grant to Princess Anne. A member of the committee on the bill for restoring corporations, he twice acted as teller for the disabling clause. He remained a Whig throughout William’s reign. He died on 26 Jan. 1713, and was buried at Langar. His son sat for the county from 1722 to 1732 as a Whig.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: E. R. Edwards
- 1. Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, xiii. 96-100.
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1806; Eg. 1626, f. 33.
- 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 152; xxiv. 356.
- 4. HMC Buccleuch, i. 317, 330; Savile Corresp. (Cam. Soc. lxxi), 57; Add. 41803, f. 84; Grey, ii. 236; K. H. D. Haley, Shaftesbury, 420.
- 5. Haley, 522, 658; HMC 7th Rep. 479; Sidney Diary, i. 237; Add. 41803, f. 84; Spencer mss, Millington to Ld. Halifax, 30 July 1683; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 1, p. 452; CSP Dom. 1684-5, p. 298; 1685, p. 105; Luttrell, i. 326; HMC Rutland, ii. 109; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), 560.
- 6. HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2 p. 460; Foxcroft, Halifax, ii. 213; CJ, x. 311, 323, 329.