HOWARD, Sir Charles (1579-1642), of Sheffield, Fletching, Suss. and Windsor, Berks.; later of Leatherhead, Surr.

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



1597 - 24 Oct. 1597
24 Oct. 1597

Family and Education

b. 17 Sept. 1579, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Charles Howard†, 1st earl of Nottingham, with his 1st w. Katherine, da. of Henry Carey†, 1st Bar. Hunsdon; bro. of Sir William Howard†.1 educ. privately; G. Inn 1598.2 m. (1) 19 May 1597, Charity (d. 18 Dec. 1618), da. of Robert White of Christchurch, Hants, wid. of Richard Leeche†, ironmaster, of Sheffield, s.p.; (2) 22 Apr. 1620, Mary (d. 6 Feb. 1651), da. of Sir William Cockayne, Skinner, of Broad Street, London, ld. mayor 1619-20, s.p. kntd. 11 May 1603; styled Lord Howard (Effingham) 28 Nov. 1615; suc. fa. 14 Dec. 1624 as 2nd earl of Nottingham. d. 3 Oct. 1642.3

Offices Held

Gent. pens. 1598-at least 1603;4 member, embassy to Spain 1605.5

Kpr. Windsor Great Park 1601-16,6 Ditton Park 1603;7 j.p. Surr. and Suss. 1601-July 1642;8 commr. piracy, Mdx., Kent, Essex, Surr. 1603, London and Mdx. 1606, Suss. 1637, sewers, Suss. 1604-d., Surr. and Kent 1624-39;9 v.-adm. Suss. 1608-at least 1638,10 dep. lt. by 1611-at least 1613,11 commr. pressing of seamen 1620;12 ld. lt. Surr. (jt.) 1621-Mar. 1642, (sole) Mar. 1642-d.;13 commr. subsidy, Surr. 1622, 1624,14 Forced Loan, Surr. 1626-7, Suss. 1627,15 martial law, Surr. 1626,16 swans, Eng. except West Country ?1629, oyer and terminer, Home circ. 1635-d.17


Howard was the son of Charles, 2nd Lord Howard of Effingham. His father, who twice represented Surrey before succeeding to the peerage, was lord admiral from 1585 to 1619, lord lieutenant of Surrey and Sussex and created earl of Nottingham in 1597. Howard himself had already sat for Surrey and Sussex in the late Elizabethan period. In January 1604 his elder brother, Sir William Howard†, was summoned to the Lords. This left Howard as the senior member of the family eligible to sit in the Commons and therefore, presumably, the primary focus of his father’s electoral patronage.18

Howard’s marriage in 1597 to the widow of a successful ironmaster had brought him three Sussex manors: he subsequently resided in the county, at the time of his knighthood in 1603 at Sheffield in the parish of Fletching, eight miles north of Lewes.19 In addition, his father owned a limited amount of property in the county, where he was lord lieutenant.20 Howard’s re-election for the county to the first Jacobean Parliament was probably the result of an arrangement made between Nottingham and his colleague as lord lieutenant of Sussex, lord treasurer Buckhurst (Thomas Sackville†) in 1601. In that year Howard had been returned for the senior seat, with Buckhurst’s eldest son Robert Sackville taking the junior; in 1604 they were both re-elected, but this time they switched positions in the return.21

Howard left no mark on the records of the 1604-10 Parliament, taking no apparent interest even in the controversial bill introduced in May 1604 to provide for his sister, the dowager countess of Kildare.22 He shared in the bounty lavished on the Howards by James I, for in February 1605 he received confirmation of a pension of £200 p.a. assigned to him by his father.23 He was nonetheless apparently unable to pay a £20 annuity promised to a client of his father’s, Sir George Buc†, who in 1609 begged the earl of Salisbury (Robert Cecil†), now lord treasurer, to arrange payment out of his fees and pensions.24 At about the same time he reportedly borrowed £1,000 from William, 2nd Lord Compton, but this sum he seems to have managed to repay.25

In 1614 Howard, by now vice-admiral of Sussex, sat for the maritime borough of New Shoreham, where his father had long exercised electoral patronage.26 Once again Howard left no trace on the surviving parliamentary records. On the death without male heirs of his elder brother William the following year, Howard assumed the courtesy title of Lord Howard of Effingham. However, he failed to secure the estate that Nottingham had previously passed to William, as the latter had settled it on his daughter. Howard tried to overturn the settlement, claiming that it contradicted a previous recognisance entered into by William, but William’s widow secured a decree from Sir Lionel Cranfield*, the master of the Court of Wards, invalidating the recognisance and securing possession of the property.27

In 1606 Howard received a further pension of £300 on surrendering the keepership of Windsor Great Park.28 His wife died two years later bequeathing to Howard her Sussex estate, which she had acquired outright from her first husband.29 He let Sheffield to a local lawyer after his second marriage in 1620 to one of the daughters of William Cockayne, one of the wealthiest London merchants of the period.30 John Chamberlain was probably not alone in questioning the merchant’s judgment in purchasing ‘so poor honour with the price of his daughter, a handsome young woman (they say), and to bestow her on a man so worn out in state, credit, years and otherwise’.31 Despite this fortunate match, Howard excused himself from contributing to the recovery of the Palatinate later in the year, on the ground that his father being alive, and his elder brother having ‘unjustly’ bequeathed his estate to his own daughter, he had scarcely enough to maintain his honour and pay his debts.32

Perhaps hoping that, like his elder brother, he would be summoned to the Lords in his father’s lifetime, Howard appears not to have sought re-election in the early 1620s. Nevertheless in 1621 and 1624 he petitioned the Commons to reverse Cranfield’s decree.33 In 1624 he succeeded to a heavily indebted estate. The manors of Chelsea and Reigate remained with his stepmother as her jointure and the Gage family successfully reclaimed Haling House in Croydon.34 In 1626, with Cranfield now in disgrace, he made a third attempt to reverse his decree by promoting a bill in Parliament, but the Lords judged it fit to sleep.35

Summoned to attend the king at York in 1639, Howard pleaded ill health and poverty, claiming an income of less than £400.36 During the Long Parliament he again tried to obtain damages from Cranfield, but with the same lack of success.37 In 1642 Parliament appointed him sole lord lieutenant of Surrey under the Militia Ordinance, and in August he summoned his deputies to a meeting at Leatherhead ‘to settle the county in a posture of arms’ in preparation for the Civil War.38 On the 24th of that month, ‘being sick and weak in body’, he made his will. He died less than seven weeks later on 3 October. He left £5 a year for 20 years to the poor of Leatherhead, rings to his ‘kind mother-in-law’, who had married Henry Carey* as her second husband, and to his half-brother, nearly £150 to servants, and the residue of his estate to his ‘dear and loving wife’.39 According to the sermon preached at his funeral at Reigate on 8 Oct., he was ‘a lover of God and godliness, ... of Christ’s sacred word, and of faithful ministers’. Having died childless, his half-brother succeeded him as 3rd earl, who took the side of Parliament in the Civil War and died without issue in 1681.40

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. CP, ix. 786, 788.
  • 2. R.W. Kenny, Elizabeth’s Admiral, 92; GI Admiss.
  • 3. CP, ix. 788-9; PROB 11/88, f. 293; W.H. Challen, ‘Kyme fam. of Lewes’, Suss. Arch. Colls. c. 122; Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 105.
  • 4. E407/1/24, 36; HMC Hatfield, xxiv. 63.
  • 5. NLW, Carreglwyd I/699.
  • 6. CP, ix. 788; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 404.
  • 7. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 47.
  • 8. C231/1, ff. 125v; 231/5, p. 532.
  • 9. C181/1, ff. 66v, 81; 181/2, f. 12; 181/3, f. 114v; 181/5, ff.153, 205v.
  • 10. HCA 49/106/A/36; HCA 30/820/33.
  • 11. Harl. 703, ff. 143v, 152v.
  • 12. APC, 1619-21, p. 248.
  • 13. Sainty, Lords Lieutenants, 33; A. and O. i. 2.
  • 14. C212/22/21, 23.
  • 15. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 144; C193/12/2, ff. 56v, 58v.
  • 16. C66/2384/3.
  • 17. C181/3, f. 267; 181/4, f. 198; 181/5, f. 221v.
  • 18. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 344-5; CP, v. 10.
  • 19. Notes of Post Mortem Inquisitions taken in Suss. ed. F.W.T. Attree (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 140.
  • 20. Kenny, 20.
  • 21. Sainty, 34; OR.
  • 22. CJ, i. 224a, 226b, 229a.
  • 23. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 194.
  • 24. HMC Hatfield, xxi. 135; HP Commons, 1558-1603, i. 510.
  • 25. C2/Jas.I/C5/33.
  • 26. J.K. Gruenfelder, Influence in Early Stuart Elections, 133.
  • 27. APC, 1615-16, pp. 659, 666; Manning and Bray, Surr. ii. 302.
  • 28. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 404.
  • 29. PROB 11/133, f. 37.
  • 30. R.W. Blencowe, ‘Paxhill and its neighbourhood’, Suss. Arch. Colls. xi. 10.
  • 31. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 301.
  • 32. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 203.
  • 33. Harl. 6803, f. 12; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 187v.
  • 34. Kenny, 334; T. Fuller, Worthies, iii. 212; T. Faulkner, Hist. and Top. Description of Chelsea, i. 323; W. Hooper, Reigate, 29; VCH Surr. iv. 222.
  • 35. CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 283; Procs. 1626, i. 173.
  • 36. CSP Dom. 1638-9, p. 431.
  • 37. HMC 4th Rep. 50; LJ, iv. 330.
  • 38. HMC 7th Rep. 677.
  • 39. PROB 11/190, f. 263.
  • 40. Blencowe, 17; G. Leveson-Gower, ‘Howards of Effingham’, Surr. Arch. Colls. ix. 415.