HOWARD, Hon. William (c.1674-1701).

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 - 1700
24 Jan. - 18 July 1701

Family and Education

b. c.1674, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Edward Howard†, 2nd Earl of Carlisle; bro. of Charles Howard*, Visct. Morpeth, 3rd Earl of Carlisle.  educ. Pembroke, Oxf. matric. 19 May 1693, aged 18. unm.1

Offices Held


Returned for Carlisle in 1695 on the interest of his brother, Lord Carlisle, Howard was forecast in January 1696 as likely to support the Court on the proposed council of trade, signed the Association, and in March voted for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In the following session he voted, on 25 Nov. 1696, against the attainder of his maternal uncle Sir John Fenwick†, but thereafter he was almost wholly absent from the House. On 27 Jan. 1697 a motion that Howard be sent for into custody for being absent at a call of the House was defeated without a division. In June he was granted a pass to go to Holland, and did not return from the Continent for nearly three years. He was nevertheless re-elected in 1698, a comparison of the old and new Commons classing him as a Court supporter but marking him as ‘absent’. This was borne out in November when Lord Carlisle informed Howard’s fellow Carlisle Member James Lowther* that Howard ‘would not be back this session’ and asked Lowther to make Howard’s excuses to the Commons. On 7 Mar. 1699 his name was included on a list of Members who had not attended the session, but who were excused either for reasons of sickness or being beyond the seas, and on 30 Mar. he was granted leave of absence on the grounds of ill-health. Howard remained on the Continent throughout 1699 and 1700, but his prolonged stay abroad did not prevent his return for both Northumberland and Morpeth at the first 1701 election. Howard’s cousin Philip Howard* had travelled to France in an attempt to persuade him to return to England, but his endeavours were unsuccessful and Howard notified the Commons by a letter to the Speaker of his intention to sit for Northumberland. This was presented to the House on 7 Mar. 1701 and prompted the appointment of a committee to examine precedents for Members persistently absent abroad, and it was not until Howard returned from France and appeared before the Commons on 19 May that his election was settled and a writ issued for a new election at Morpeth. Howard’s lengthy sojourn abroad had been occasioned by poor health due to consumption, and his return to England had fatal consequences, as was detailed in the memoirs of an Anglican clergyman:

upon the breaking up of the House [Howard] went down into the north to the civility of his thanks and his due respects to the gentry of the country, and the inhabitants of Morpeth . . . but he was seized upon the road with the small pox, which he had contracted (unknown) in London and increased by travelling; this distemper proved so malignant, that meeting with a person of his weak and infirm constitution, it baffled all the skill of his physicians and killed him in a few days so that he died at an inn in Northampton.

Howard’s death occurred on 18 July and he was buried at Westminster Abbey six days later, leaving an estate thought to be worth £2,500 p.a. to his brother, the Earl of Carlisle.2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Collins, Peerage, iii. 505.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1697, p. 208; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/1, James to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, 15 Nov. 1698; W2/2/3, same to same, 2 Sept., 5 Oct. 1700; W2/2/4, same to same, 2 Jan. 1700[–1], 13, 20 May, 22 July 1701; Add. 27440, ff. 154, 167; Westminster Abbey Reg. (Harl. Soc. x), 248; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 73; Post Boy, 19–22 July 1701.