HOWARD, Henry (c.1592-1616), of Blore, Staffs. and Whitehall

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1592, 3rd s. of Thomas Howard, 1st earl of Suffolk (d.1626) and his 2nd w. Catherine, da. and coh. of (Sir) Henry Knyvet† of Charlton, Wilts., wid. of Richard Rich of Rochford Hall, Essex; bro. of Sir Edward Howard II*, Sir Robert*, Theophilus*, Lord Walden, Sir Thomas* and Sir William*.1 educ. Camb. 1605; travelled abroad (France, Italy) 1608-12.2 m. Jan. 1614, Elizabeth, da. and h. of William Bassett† of Blore, 1s. d.v.p. 1da.3 bur. 10 Oct. 1616.4

Offices Held

Woodward (jt.) of Albourne chase, Wilts. 1605-9;5 kpr. of Mansell Park, Derbys. 1613-d.;6 j.p. Derbys., Oxon. and Staffs. 1614-d.7

Lt. gent. pens. 1614-d.;8 commr. to grant free warren 1615.9


A younger son, Howard was a member of one of the most important families in early Jacobean England, his father becoming lord chamberlain on James’s accession and lord treasurer in 1614. Between 1608 and 1611 he accompanied his brother-in-law William Cecil, Viscount Cranborne,* on his travels abroad, and after an attack of the ague, which may have weakened his heart, he spent a further year exploring Italy independently.10 On his return in 1612 he lodged with Cecil, now 2nd earl of Salisbury, at Salisbury House. ‘Very gallant’, with auburn hair and beard, he became an accomplished courtier.11 On 20 Aug. 1613 Robert Devereux, 3rd earl of Essex, whose marriage to Howard’s sister Frances was in the process of being dissolved on grounds of non-consummation, challenged Howard to a duel for ‘certain disgraceful speeches’ in which Howard had impugned Essex’s virility. The two men crossed the Channel in September with Huntington Colby* and Walter Devereux*, the former acting as second for Howard and the latter for Essex. When the king heard of the intended duel he sent messengers after Howard and Essex with orders to desist. Consequently, before blows could be exchanged, Howard was intercepted in a wood outside Bruges. After returning to England, he was briefly confined to Salisbury House while the king composed the quarrel. At the end of the year Howard danced in the masque which was performed at Frances’ second wedding, to the royal favourite Somerset.12 Shortly afterwards he celebrated his own marriage, to a young heiress, the ward of his father’s friend Sir Roger Dallison*, a match which brought him extensive estates in Staffordshire and Derbyshire worth £2,400 a year. He subsequently settled at Blore, the traditional seat of the Basset family close to the Derbyshire border.13

A couple of months after he was married, Howard was returned as senior knight of the shire for Derbyshire. At the same time he secured the election at Derby of Arthur Turnor, whose father was employed as counsel by the earl of Suffolk. As ‘Sir Henry Howard’ he was ordered, on 14 Apr., to attend a conference on the bill to settle the succession following the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine, but he left no further trace on the records of the Addled Parliament.14 On the death two months later of his great-uncle and namesake, the earl of Northampton, Howard inherited £800 per annum.15 Later that year he was made lieutenant of the band of gentlemen pensioners, which had recently come under the command of his eldest brother, Theophilus. In May 1615 he and a fellow courtier were granted all the compositions for free warren, having previously been appointed to a commission on the subject.16 He remained loyal to his sister, the countess of Somerset, after her arrest in October 1615 for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, despite her refusal to see him, and the following March was reported to have enlisted the archbishop of Canterbury’s help in entreating the queen to procure a pardon for the earl and countess.17 He died at the end of September 1616 at his country house at breakfast ‘suddenly at the table without speaking one word’. He was buried in Blore church. ‘Esteemed most of all that company’ by his uncle Lord William Howard, he was described by another reporter as the ‘most hopeful’ of Suffolk’s sons. Administration was granted on 1 Nov. to his widow, who subsequently married Sir William Cavendish II*; his posthumous daughter married the grandson of Sir John Harpur*.18

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Virginia C.D. Moseley


  • 1. Top. and Gen. i. 470; CP, xii, pt. 1, pp. 462-6.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 273, 337.
  • 3. Chamberlain Letters, i. 556, 570; Nichols, County of Leicester, iv. 906.
  • 4. M.T. and J.D. Swinscoe, ‘The Bassetts of Blore’ (typescript in Soc. Gen.), unpag.
  • 5. Duchy of Lancaster Office-Holders ed. R. Somerville, 221.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 213.
  • 7. C66/1988; 66/2076.
  • 8. Chamberlain Letters, i. 556; PRO 30/26/186.
  • 9. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 286.
  • 10. Chamberlain Letters, i. 273, 337; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 645; Winwood’s Memorials ed. E. Sawyer, iii. 257.
  • 11. HMC Downshire, iv. 205; Add. 12514, f. 140; Chamberlain Letters, i. 340, 440, 446.
  • 12. Chamberlain Letters, i. 474-5, 496; HMC Downshire, iv. 205-6, 220; HMC de L’Isle and Dudley, v. 121, 123; A. Stewart, ‘Purging Troubled Humours: Bacon, Northampton and the Anti-Duelling Campaign of 1613-14’, Crisis of 1614 and the Addled Parl. ed. S. Clucas and R. Davies, 89.
  • 13. Staffs. Hist. Colls. ed. W.K. Boyd and G. Wrottesley (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. iv), 18; W. Boyd, ‘Dalison Notes’, Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2) ii. 241-2; L. Stone, Fam. and Fortune, 280, 283-4.
  • 14. C2/Jas.I/S26/8; Procs. 1614 (Commons), 82.
  • 15. Chamberlain Letters, i. 541.
  • 16. C66/2057/15.
  • 17. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 323; HMC Downshire, v. p. 448.
  • 18. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 24; HMC Downshire, vi. 25; HMC Le Fleming, 15; SP14/88/117; PROB 6/9, f. 93.