HOWARD, sometime HOWARD MOLYNEUX (afterwards HOWARD MOLYNEUX HOWARD), Henry Thomas (1766-1824), of Thornbury Castle, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1790 - Feb. 1795
11 Feb. 1795 - 1818
1818 - 1820
1820 - 17 June 1824

Family and Education

b. 7 Oct. 1766, 2nd s. of Henry Howard of Glossop, Derbys. by Juliana, da. of Sir William Molyneux, 6th Bt., of Teversall, Notts. m. 12 Sept. 1801, Elizabeth, da. of Edward Long of Aldermaston, Berks., c.j. vice-admiralty court, Jamaica, 1s. 4da. suc. cos. Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk, to Thornbury 1777; mat. uncle Sir Francis Molyneux, 7th Bt., to Teversall and Wellow, Notts. and took additional name of Molyneux by royal lic. July 1812. Having resumed surname of Howard, granted precedence as yr. s. of a duke and styled Lord Henry Thomas Howard Molyneux Howard 15 Oct. 1817-d.

Offices Held

Dep. earl marshal 1816-d.; high steward Gloucester.

Capt. N. Glos. militia 1790, maj. 1794, lt.-col. 1798.


Howard’s father, second cousin to the 8th, 9th and 10th Dukes of Norfolk, failed in business as a wine merchant in Dublin, but was rescued by the 9th Duke, who made him steward of his estate at Sheffield. He died in 1787. Two years later Howard, now in possession of the Gloucestershire property which had been settled on him by the 9th Duke in 1776, stood for Gloucester at a by-election as the candidate of his third cousin Charles, 11th Duke of Norfolk (‘Jockey’), and the Whig corporation, but he lost by one vote in a contest with a local man. Later in the year he joined Brooks’s and the Whig Club. At the general election of 1790 Norfolk returned him for Arundel and also put him up for Steyning, where he was elected after a contest but later unseated on petition. In 1795 he came in unopposed on a vacancy for Gloucester, where Norfolk was now recorder and an electoral truce had been declared. He was undisturbed in the seat at the next five general elections.

He voted with his fellow Whigs on Oczakov, 12 Apr. 1791 and 1 Mar. 1792, was listed favourable to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791, became a Friend of the People, was in the Foxite minorities on the address, 13 Dec. 1792, and the war, 18 Feb. 1793, but did not vote for Grey’s parliamentary reform motion, 7 May 1793. He divided regularly with the Foxite Whigs in 1794, but more spasmodically in the next two sessions. He occasionally acted as one of their tellers. In the first of his few known speeches, 5 Mar. 1795, he opposed, on behalf of his constituents’, the proposed retrospective operation of the additional wine duty. He voted for abolition of the slave trade, 15 Mar. 1796.

Howard voted for parliamentary reform, 26 May 1797. During the period of the Foxite secession his only recorded votes were against the triple assessment, 14 Dec. 1797 and 4 Jan. 1798, the land tax redemption bill, 23 Apr., on Ireland, 22 June 1798, and against the refusal of peace negotiations, 3 Feb., the Dutch expedition, 10 Feb., war for restoration of the Bourbons, 28 Feb., the Union, 25 Apr., and the income tax, 5 June 1800. In February 1798, at the time of Norfolk’s dismissal from his lord lieutenancy as a result of his provocative toast at the Crown and Anchor, Howard, as major of the North Gloucestershire militia, was in command of defence forces at Weymouth.1

He voted for a call of the House, 12 Nov. 1800, and against the address, 2 Feb. 1801. He spoke in support of Burdett in his attack on the regime in Coldbath Fields prison, 12 Feb., and divided against government on the Ferrol expedition, 19 Feb., and the state of the nation, 25 Mar. 1801, but did not oppose the Addington ministry’s repressive legislation. He voted against them on the civil list arrears, 29 Mar., supported inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s financial claims, 31 Mar. 1802 (but did not do so on 4 Mar. 1803), and voted for an address of thanks for Pitt’s removal, 7 May 1802. He was in the minority on the renewal of war, 24 May 1803, and on 28 June upheld Lord Cochrane’s right to read his memorial of grievances to the House. In February 1804 he brought in a London-Portsmouth canal bill, but it was defeated on its second reading, 15 Mar. He voted against Addington on Irish militia bills, 10 and 16 Apr. 1804. His appearance in these minorities prompted Grey to ask Fox, 22 Apr., whether Norfolk, who disliked the Foxite alliance with Pitt, had ‘deserted the Doctor’;2 but Howard did not vote against the ministry in the divisions of 23 and 25 Apr. which sealed its fate. In March he was listed under ‘Fox’, but in May Pitt’s head-counters included him among the Carlton House party, presumably because of Norfolk’s friendship with the Prince of Wales. He opposed Pitt’s additional force bill in June, was listed under ‘Fox and Grenville’ in September and in 1805 voted against government on the national defences, 21 Feb., and the Melville scandal, 8 Apr. and 12 June.

Howard supported his Whig friends in office and voted for the repeal of the Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806. On 6 Feb. 1807 he sought information on the Vellore massacre, arguing that ‘it was necessary to show that if mismanagement or misconduct had been practised in India, the circumstances would be investigated in England’. He voted for Brand’s motion condemning the ministerial pledge, 9 Apr. 1807.

While he could generally be relied on to supply the Whigs with his vote for major divisions after 1807, he was clearly far from being a dedicated attender. He opposed the Portland ministry on the address, 26 June, the state of the nation, 6 July, places and pensions, 7 July 1807, the Copenhagen expedition, 3 and 8 Feb., the mutiny bill, 14 Mar. 1808, Cintra, 21 Feb., the Duke of York affair, 15 and 17 Mar., and alleged ministerial corruption, 25 Apr., 1 and 11 May 1809. He voted against the Perceval ministry on the address, 23 Jan., the Scheldt expedition, 26 Jan., 5 and 30 Mar., and droits of Admiralty, 30 May; opposed the committal of Burdett, 5 Apr., and voted for Brand’s parliamentary reform motion, 21 May 1810. He was in the opposition minority on the adjournment, 29 Nov. 1810, and their majority on the Regency resolutions, 1 Jan. 1811, but only paired for the division on the Regency bill, 21 Jan., and is not known to have voted with them again until 4 Feb. 1812, when he supported inquiry into the state of Ireland. He went on to vote against government on the state of the nation, 27 Feb., the orders in council, 3 Mar., the need for a stronger administration, 21 May, and the leather tax, 1 July. He voted for Catholic relief, 24 Apr. 1812, as he was to do again on 2 Mar., 13 and 24 May 1813, 21 May 1816 and 9 May 1817.

On the death of his uncle Sir Francis Molyneux in June 1812 ‘the naughty Henry Howard’, as Lady Jerningham called him, came into a ‘considerable’ fortune.3 At the general election of 1812 he was returned for both Gloucester and Arundel. He vacated the latter seat to provide a berth for Sir Samuel Romilly after his defeat at Bristol. His only recorded votes, apart from those on Catholic relief, in the first three sessions of the 1812 Parliament were against the vice-chancellor bill, 11 Feb.; for the sinecure bill, 29 Mar. 1813; in censure of the Speaker’s anti-Catholic prorogation speech, 22 Apr.; against the blockade of Norway, 12 May; on the Quentin court martial, 17 Nov. 1814; against the renewal of war, 7 Apr. and 25 May; for inquiry into the civil list, 8 May, and the Regent’s expenditure, 31 May; and against the Duke of Cumberland’s establishment bill, 3 July 1815. On the death of his cousin, 16 Dec. 1815, his elder brother Bernard Edward (1765-1842), a Catholic, succeeded as 12th Duke of Norfolk. Debarred by his religion from exercising the ceremonial duties of his hereditary office of earl marshal, he made Henry his deputy and the appointment was confirmed by the Regent on 1 Mar. 1816.

Lord Grey enquired of Lady Holland, 2 Feb. 1816, ‘the reason of the Duke of Norfolk’s people staying away, particularly Harry Howard’,4 but he attended to vote against the address on the peace treaties, 20 Feb. After voting against the property tax, 18 Mar., he joined in the campaign for economy and retrenchment. Thereafter his attendance apparently lapsed again. In 1817 he voted against the address, 29 Jan.; the suspension of habeas corppus, 26 and 28 Feb., and its renewal, 23 June; for inquiry into trade and manufactures, 13 Mar.; against Canning’s embassy, 6 May, and for Williams Wynn’s candidature for the Speakership, 2 June. He paired on the Whig side for the division on the third secretaryship, 29 Apr. 1817. Only three votes are recorded in his name in 1818: he voted with opposition on the conduct of the Scottish law officers, 10 Feb., and their amendment to the address concerning the ducal marriage grants, 13 Apr., but he was listed in the ministerial minority in the division on provision for the Duke of Clarence, 15 Apr.

After abandoning Gloucester for Arundel at the general election of 1818 Howard signed the requisition calling on Tierney to assume the Whig leadership in the Commons. He voted against government on the Windsor establishment, 22 Feb., Admiralty economies, 18 Mar., Scottish burgh reform, 6 May, and Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. The following day he presented a petition from Arundel against the use of excise informers, demanded reform of a ‘system so pregnant with abuse’, but subsequently withdrew the petition. He is not known to have taken any part in the opposition to the government’s coercive measures later in the year. He died 17 June 1824.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: M. H. Port


  • 1. Prince of Wales Corresp. iii. 1328-9.
  • 2. Grey mss.
  • 3. Jerningham Letters, ii. 23.
  • 4. Grey mss.