HOWARD, Hon. Thomas (1621-c.81), of Pall Mall, Westminster.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



16 Feb. 1674

Family and Education

bap. 8 July 1621, 2nd s. of Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, by Lady Elizabeth Home, da. and coh. of George, 1st Earl of Dunbar [S]. m. by 1649, Walburga, illegit. da. of Jan Polyander van der Kerchhove, lord of Henvliet, Zeeland, 1s. d.v.p.1

Offices Held

Col. of horse (royalist) c.1643-5; master of horse to the Princess Royal by 1647-Dec. 1660; capt. of horse, Dutch army 1647-at least 1656; lt.-col. of ft. Holland regt. 1665-74.2

Freeman, Woodstock 1673; commr. for assessment, Berks. 1673-9, Oxon. 1677-9, recusants, Oxon. 1675.3


Howard’s father, as warden of the Cinque Ports, nominated him as court candidate for Rye before he was 19, but he was not elected, and when his father died a few months later, he was left virtually unendowed. The 3rd Earl sided with Parliament in the Civil War till he was impeached in 1647, but Howard fought as a Royalist. After the battle of Naseby he retired to Holland, where he was taken into the service of the Princess Royal and given a commission in the Dutch army. He made periodic visits to England, one of them in the company of the royal mistress, Lucy Walter. He was suspected of sending information to his brother-in-law, Lord Broghill (Roger Boyle), and in 1658 George Downing reported that he had ‘perfectly gained’ him. Sir Edward Hyde angrily denounced him as a spy, and his hopes of a peerage were dashed, but the King remarked only that he ‘earns his wages very easily, for all he informs is of his own invention’. Certainly the letters which Downing obtained from him cannot have been of much use to the Protectorate Government. At the Restoration a pension of £500 was settled on his wife, from whom he was living apart, but nothing was done for Howard himself until the outbreak of the second Dutch war, when he came over from Zeeland as second-in-command of the newly-formed Holland regiment. This was soon followed by the marriage of his only son to the King’s natural daughter by Lady Shannon, and his future as a courtier seemed assured. With his younger brother he was granted the right to levy a shilling for every ton of ship’s ballast in any Irish port, though the opposition of Dublin made this ineffective.4

Howard’s election at Woodstock in 1674 was probably procured by John Lovelace, his partner in obtaining a lease of crown property in Lincolnshire some four years before. On laying down his commission he received an excise pension of £300 p.a. He was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, with only eight committees, none of which was of any political importance. He was noted as an official in 1675, perhaps by confusion with his cousins of the Berkshire or Escrick families. But in August his pension was stopped until he had made good his soldiers’ pay, which he had detained. His name appeared on the working lists and Wiseman’s account, but Shaftesbury marked him ‘worthy’, no doubt because of his elder brother’s politics and his own association with Lovelace. However, he was included in the court party in both lists of 1678, and as one of the ‘unanimous club’ probably did not stand for reelection. He died between 17 Jan. 1680 and 10 June 1682, when he was omitted from the entail on the Suffolk estates.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Leonard Naylor


  • 1. C6/282/86; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), v. 142; H. K. S. Causton, Howard Pprs. 650.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1644-5, p. 54; 1645-7, p. 577; 1664-5, p. 469; 1675-6, p. 275; F. J. G. ten Raa and F. de Bas, Het Staatsche Leger, iv. 205; v. 53.
  • 3. Woodstock council act bk. 5 Feb. 1673.
  • 4. HMC 13th Rep. IV, 209; Clarendon, Rebellion, iii. 76; Thurloe, v. 160, 169; vii. 428, 444-5; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 121, 173, 219, 245, 444; Carte, Orig. Letters and Pprs. ii. 319; CSP Dom. 1651-2, pp. 65, 90; 1661-2, p. 140; 1664-5, p. 234; 1671, p. 225; 1675-6, p. 275.
  • 5. Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 533; iv. 577; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 264; CP.