HOWARD, Craven (c.1649-1700), of Elford Hall, Staffs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1695 - 1698

Family and Education

b. c.1649, o. s. of Hon. William Howard, 4th s. of Thomas, 1st Earl of Berkshire, by Elizabeth, da. of Lothiel Dundas of Dunbar, Haddington.  m. (1) 29 July 1673, Anne (bur. 1682), da. of Thomas Ogle of Pinchbeck, Lincs., maid of honour to Queen Catherine of Braganza, 1da.; (2) 12 June 1683 (aged about 34), Mary, da. of George Bowes (d. 1656) of Elford Hall, and h. to her bro. Richard (d. 1661), 1s. 2da.  suc. fa. by 1662.1

Offices Held

Gov. Linen Manufacturing Co. 1690.2


Imprudence and litigiousness led Howard to squander many of his advantages. He enjoyed a substantial inheritance of lands in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire through his paternal grandmother Lady Elizabeth Cecil, but took as his first wife an ‘ancient maid’ of ‘no fortune’ and settled on her the Northamptonshire estate, which was afterwards lost to him. This ‘disobedient’ marriage brought about a rupture with his mother and a subsequent lawsuit. He also had frequent recourse to law against his cousin Thomas Howard* over the Lincolnshire property. His second marriage was more astute, resulting in his installation as master of Elford Hall. However, even this did not free him from financial embarrassments, and at his death his estate is said to have been seriously encumbered. Litigation was still a popular pursuit with him, as was speculation in various commercial and industrial projects. Besides his involvement in the Linen Manufacturing Company, he was a member of a consortium that in the mid-1690s was attempting an ambitious waterworks scheme in London; and he was one of the ‘inventors’ of the ‘Light Royal’, an unsuccessful rival to the convex light.3

Howard’s candidature at Malmesbury was based on the traditional influence of the earls of Berkshire. In 1690 he joined with the representative of another proprietorial interest, Sir Thomas Estcourt*, whose support was purchased with a grant of the lucrative office of vice-treasurer of the Linen Company. Their challenge to the dominant interest of the Wharton brothers (Hon. Thomas* and Hon. Goodwin*) was based on the old, restricted franchise, but it had to be maintained by petition, and the petition was never heard. By 1695 Howard and Estcourt had fallen out over Linen Company affairs. Howard made an alliance with the Whartons, and was returned. Classed as ‘doubtful’ in the forecast for divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, he signed the Association and voted with the Court in favour of fixing the price of guineas at 22s. in March. In a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments in 1698 he was listed as a Court supporter. At the general election, again with a Wharton nominee, he tied for second place but was defeated on the casting vote of the chief magistrate. Despite strenuous efforts on the part of the Whartons and their agents, he lost his petition.4

Howard died on 7 June 1700 and was buried at Elford. His son, Henry Bowes Howard, succeeded as 4th Earl of Berkshire in 1706 and in 1745 inherited the earldom of Suffolk from a third cousin, thus uniting the two peerages held by this branch of the Howards.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Westminster Abbey Reg. (Harl. Soc. x), 10, 205; Mar. Lic. Vicar-Gen. (Harl. Soc. xxx), 135; F. E. Paget, Recs. Ashtead Estate, 128, 194.
  • 2. Evelyn Diary, iii. 345.
  • 3. Paget, 77–78, 116–17, 194; Evelyn Diary, iv. 70–71; E. M. Richardson, Lion and the Rose, ii. 418; CSP Dom. 1690–1, p. 424; 1693, p. 440; 1694–5, p. 375; 1696, p. 106; 1699–1700, p. 149; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 285; CJ, x. 709; HMC Lords, n.s. viii. 8.
  • 4. CJ, xi. 557.
  • 5. Westminster Abbey Reg. 10.