HOWARD, Theophilus, Lord Howard de Walden (1584-1640), of Audley End, Essex and Suffolk House, The Strand, Westminster

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



4 Nov. 1605 - 8 Feb. 1610

Family and Education

bap. 13 Aug. 1584, 1st s. of Thomas Howard, 1st earl of Suffolk, ld. chamberlain 1603-14 and ld. treas. 1614-18, and 2nd w. Catherine, da. and coh. of Sir Henry Knyvet† of Charlton, Wilts. and wid. of Richard Rich of Rochford Hall, Essex; bro. of Sir Edward II*, Henry*, Sir Robert*, Sir Thomas,* Sir William*. educ. Magdalene, Camb. (John Smyth tutor) 1598; travelled abroad (France, Italy and Lorraine) 1603-5; incorp. Oxf. 1605, MA 1605; G. Inn 1606. m. c.1612 (settlement 17 Nov. 1606), Elizabeth (d. 19 Aug. 1633), da. of George Home, 1st earl of Dunbar, 4s. 5da. styled Lord Walden 1603-26; summ. to Lords in fa.’s barony 8 Feb. 1610; suc. fa. 1626;1 cr. KG 24 Apr. 1627. d. 3 June 1640.2 sig. Theo[philus] Howard.

Offices Held

Constable, Tenby Castle, Pemb. (jt.) c.1604-at least 1622;3 constable of Dover Castle and ld. warden of Cinque Ports 1628-d.;4 freeman, Maldon, Essex 1605;5 steward (jt.) of var. royal manors in Wales, 1606;6 v.-adm. Dorset 1611-at least 1639, bishopric of Dur., Cumb. and Northumb. 1611-at least 1638, Westmld. by 1614-at least 1638;7 commr. piracy, Dorset 1611, Cumb., Westmld. Northumb. and bishopric of Dur. 1614, Cinque Ports 1630;8 kpr. Greenwich Park, Kent 1611-at least 1624, the Tower Lodge, Greenwich Park 1614-at least 1633;9 commr. oyer and terminer, Western circ. 1612-at least 1638, Essex (highways’ repair) 1614-at least 1622, Norf. circ. 1617, Northern circ. 1617-at least 1638, Dorset 1626, Hants and Wilts. 1629;10 lord lt. (jt.) Cumb., Northumb., Westmld. 1614-39, (sole) Cambs., Dorset, Suff. 1626-d., Cinque Ports 1628-d.;11 j.p. Cambs., Essex, Hunts. and Suff. 1614-at least 1636,12 Saffron Walden, Essex 1615-at least 1638,13 co. Dur. 1622-at least 1636,14 Maldon by 1626,15 Cornw., I. of Ely, Norf., Northumb., Mdx., Salop 1626-at least 1636,16 Westminster and Kent 1632-at least 1636;17 custos. rot. Dorset 1614-at least 1629, Essex 1624-?, Suff. 1624-at least 1636;18 capt. of the garrison, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumb. by 1616;19 commr. sewers, Gt. Fens 1617-39, Suff. 1619-at least 1626, Kent and Suss. 1629, Camb. 1631, Westminster 1634, Kent 1639,20 Borders 1618-at least 1619;21 high steward, Exeter, Devon by 1618-at least 1622, Ipswich 1627;22 commr. subsidy, Essex 1621-2, 1624, Suff. 1621-2, 1624-5, Cambs. 1621-2, 1624,23 martial law, Dorset 1626-at least 1627,24 Forced Loan, Cambs., Dorset, Essex, Hunts., Suff., Lincs. (Kesteven, Holland and Lindsey), Norf., I. of Ely, London, Bury St. Edmunds, Orford, Aldburgh, Hadleigh, Ipswich, Maldon, Harwich, Colchester, Camb. 1626-7,25 swans (much of Eng.) 1627-at least 1628, Suff. and Essex 1635, I. of Ely 1639,26 gaol delivery, Ipswich, Suff. 1627-d.,27 charitable uses, Kent and Cinque Ports 1629-31, 1636, Kent 1636-9,28 knighthood fines, Kent, Canterbury and Cinque Ports 1631-2.29

Lt. band of gent. pens. 1606-14, capt. 1614-35;30 commr. to adjourn Parl.1610,31 arrest Dunkirk ships 1616,32 inquire into gold and silver thread manufacture 1618;33 PC 1626-d.;34 commr. deceits in coinage 1628, to treat with extraordinary Dutch ambassadors 1628;35 member, High Commission, Canterbury prov. 1629-at least 1633;36 commr. poor laws 1631, repair of St. Paul’s Cathedral 1631-at least 1636, reprieve felons for foreign service 1633, regency 1639.37

Cttee. Virg. Co. 1609;38 member, N.W. Passage Co. 1612.39

Vol. Eng. forces at J├╝lich 1610.40


Howard’s paternal grandfather, Thomas Howard, 4th duke of Norfolk, was attainted and executed in 1572 for his involvement in the Ridolfi Plot. Norfolk’s son and heir, Lord Thomas Howard, was restored in blood in December 1584 and, with the patronage of his cousin the lord high admiral, Lord Effingham (Charles Howard†), pursued a distinguished naval career. Seated at his Essex residence of Audley End, on his Saffron Walden estate, Lord Thomas was summoned to Parliament in 1597 by writ as Lord Howard de Walden. On the accession of James I he was appointed lord chamberlain and created earl of Suffolk. Howard himself was baptized at Audley End four months after his father’s rehabilitation in 1584, at which ceremony the queen was named as his godmother.41 His education followed the conventional pattern by then established for wealthy young noblemen: after attending university he toured the Continent, visiting Paris, Naples and even Rome, which was normally forbidden. As a direct descendant of the Catholic duke of Norfolk his appearance on the Continent attracted the attention of a former servant of Mary, Queen of Scots, who endeavoured unsuccessfully to lure him into negotiations with several leading Catholic exiles, most notably Jane Dormer, duchess of Feria. During his return journey in the autumn of 1604 he called on the duke of Lorraine at Nancy, who gave him a letter of compliment for King James.42

Howard arrived back in England in February 1605. An athletic young man, it was rumoured that he would soon join his father at Court and displace the 25-year-old 3rd earl of Pembroke in the king’s affections.43 Plans were therefore made for him to join the embassy which was to be sent to Madrid to ratify the Treaty of London.44 In the event, however, Pembroke’s position proved safe, and Howard, who subsequently participated in the Accession Day tilt (24 Mar.) and journeyed to Windsor to witness the earl of Northampton’s investiture as knight of the Garter (16 May), sent his younger brother (Sir) Thomas in his stead.45 In the following August he accompanied James to Oxford, where he was awarded an honorary MA.46 Thereafter he became a regular participant in sporting events at Court and performed in several wedding entertainments, including Ben Jonson’s ‘Masque of Hymen’ in January 1606, which celebrated the marriage of his sister Frances to the 3rd earl of Essex.47 In April 1606 his father appointed him lieutenant of the band of gentleman pensioners, thereby giving him his first taste of office. Suffolk subsequently arranged for Howard to marry the six-year old daughter of the earl of Dunbar, chancellor of the Exchequer, when she reached the age of 12. An ambitious attempt to win the hand of Princess Elizabeth had earlier been vetoed by Prince Henry, while a planned journey to France to court the daughter of the Constable of France in the spring of 1606 was apparently abandoned.48

Howard’s absence abroad in 1604 had prevented him from seeking a seat in the first Jacobean Parliament, but a fresh opportunity arose in October 1605 following the death of the Member for Maldon, Sir Edward Lewknor I. Howard’s path was smoothed by the Privy Council, whose letter of nomination persuaded his main rival for the seat, the popular local gentleman Sir John Sammes*, to withdraw. Howard evidently did not trouble to attend the hustings in person, as Maldon’s bailiffs were obliged to send their town clerk to London to swear him in as a freeman.49 Once in the Commons, Howard played only a minor role in its proceedings. There is no record that he ever spoke, although the arrest of his solicitor may have prompted an unrecorded intervention,50 and he was appointed to just five committees and two conferences. His social status ensured that, except where privy councillors were also included, his name headed the membership lists of each of the committees to which he was named. These concerned the observance of the Sabbath (29 Jan. 1606), subsidies (10 Feb. 1606), the possessions of the late Lord Chandos of Sudeley (7 Apr. 1606), Cheshunt vicarage (12 Dec. 1606) and clerical pluralism and non-residence (4 Mar. 1607).51 The two joint conferences with the Lords to which he was nominated were to consider the execution of the recusancy laws (3 Feb. 1606) and the Union (24 Nov. 1606); in both cases he was named after Lord Buckhurst (Robert Sackville).52 An uneventful career in the Commons was cut short on 8 Feb. 1610 when he was summoned to the Upper House as Lord Howard de Walden.53

Howard was appointed captain of the band of gentlemen pensioners in 1614, a position he came close to forfeiting following the spectacular fall from office of his father in 1618. An ally of the duke of Buckingham during the 1620s, he succeeded to his father’s title in 1626, and was made lord warden of the Cinque Ports in 1628. In 1635 a combination of ill health and political pressure forced him to surrender the captaincy of the gentlemen pensioners, while mounting debts obliged him to sell much of his estate and retire from the Court. Described by one historian as ‘a spendthrift on a monumental scale’, he died intestate in June 1640 owing more than £132,000.54 Letters of administration were granted in February 1641 to one of his creditors rather than to his son and heir James, the 3rd earl.55

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. R. Griffin (Lord Braybrooke), Hist. Audley End, 40, 42-3, 191-2; CSP Dom. 1640, p. 266; Al. Cant.; GI Admiss.; CUL, Add. 22, no. 82; CP.
  • 2. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 32; C142/601/18.
  • 3. Exch. Procs. concerning Wales in Tempore Jas. I comp. T.I. Jeffreys Jones (Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xv), 308.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 228; PC2/51, p. 3.
  • 5. HMC Hatfield, xvii. 469.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 322; Exch. Procs. 95, 120, 298-9.
  • 7. Vice Admirals of the Coast comp. J.C. Sainty and A.D. Thrush (L. and I. Soc. cccxxi), 16, 18, 40, 49.
  • 8. C181/2, f. 159; 181/4, f. 48; HCA1/32/1, f. 35.
  • 9. C66/1921/1; AO15/2, ff. 319-20v.
  • 10. C181/2, ff. 163, 225v, 293, 266; 181/3, ff. 30, 32, 68v, 212; 181/4, f. 11; 181/5, ff. 104v, 107v.
  • 11. Sainty, Lords Lieutenants, 13, 15-16, 19, 32, 40.
  • 12. C66/1988; SP16/405.
  • 13. C181/2, f. 231; 181/5, p. 234.
  • 14. C193/13/1; SP16/405.
  • 15. C193/12/2, f. 80v.
  • 16. C231/4, ff. 206, 208; SP16/405.
  • 17. C231/5, ff. 86, 93; SP16/405.
  • 18. C66/1988; 66/2527; C231/4, f. 163; SP16/405.
  • 19. Lansd. 273, f. 40. Howard was never gov. of Guernsey, as claimed in CP, though he obtained a reversion to the office in 1610: C66/1867/3.
  • 20. C181/2, ff. 281v, 349v; 181/3, f. 201v; 181/4, ff. 18, 34, 87, 191; 181/5, ff. 9v, 101; C231/5, f. 349.
  • 21. T. Rymer, Foedera, vii. pt. 2, pp. 42, 58.
  • 22. HMC Exeter, 76-7; Add. 25335, f. 31v.
  • 23. C212/22/20-3; Harl. 305, f. 206.
  • 24. APC, 1626, p. 221; Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts, pt. 1 (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv), 32.
  • 25. Rymer, viii. pt. 2, p. 144; C193/12/2, ff. 4v, 17v, 24, 31, 32, 33v, 40v, 54v, 76v-8, 80v, 84-5.
  • 26. C181/3, ff. 226, 267; 181/5, ff. 28, 147v.
  • 27. C181/3, f. 235v; 181/5, ff. 155v, 186v.
  • 28. C192/1, unfol.
  • 29. E178/5368, ff. 17, 20.
  • 30. H. Brackenbury, The Nearest Guard, 94, 205-6; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 537. Brackenbury mis-dates his appointment as lieutenant, and like CP asserts that Howard briefly surrendered his captaincy in Dec. 1619, whereas in fact Howard declined to do so: Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 278.
  • 31. HMC Hastings, iv. 229.
  • 32. APC, 1615-16, p. 437.
  • 33. Archaeologia, xli. 251.
  • 34. APC, 1626, p. 364; PC2/51, p. 3.
  • 35. Rymer, viii. pt. 2, pp. 231, 235.
  • 36. R.G. Usher, Rise and Fall of High Commission, 358.
  • 37. CSP Dom. 1630-1, p. 474; 1631-3, p. 6; 1638-9, pp. 607-8; Rymer, viii. pt. 3, p. 259; Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 1625-40, p. 58.
  • 38. Recs. Virg. Co. ed. S.M. Kingsbury, iv. 369.
  • 39. CSP Col. E.I. 1513-1616, p. 238.
  • 40. Autobiog. of Lord Herbert of Cherbury ed. S. Lee, 116-17.
  • 41. E351/542, f. 71v. We are grateful to Paul Hammer for this reference.
  • 42. Stoye, 41-2.
  • 43. Winwood’s Memorials ed. E. Sawyer, ii. 48.
  • 44. Chamberlain Letters, i. 205; NLW, Carreglwyd ms I/699.
  • 45. HMC Hatfield, xvii. 107; Add. 34218, f. 87; Harl. Misc. iii. 424.
  • 46. Nichols, i. 555.
  • 47. HMC Hatfield, xvii. 594; Nichols, ii. 5, 106, 108, 186.
  • 48. Autobiog. of Sir Simonds D’Ewes ed. J.O. Halliwell, i. 48; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 308. In Nov. 1605 Sir Edward Hoby* reported a rumour that Howard was about to marry Lady Anne Clifford: T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, i. 34.
  • 49. HMC Hatfield, xvii. 455, 469.
  • 50. CD 1628, iii. 148, 160.
  • 51. CJ, i. 261b, 266b, 294b, 330a, 347b.
  • 52. Ibid. 263a, 324b.
  • 53. Egerton Pprs. ed. J. Collier (Cam. Soc. xii), 441-2; CJ, i. 329b.
  • 54. L. Stone, Fam. and Fortune, 285-9; L. Stone, Crisis of the Aristocracy, 779.
  • 55. PCC Admons. 1631-48 ed. M. Fitch (Brit. Rec. Soc. c), vi. 400.