Earl Howe is a title that has been created twice in British history, for members of the Howe and Curzon-Howe family respectively. The first creation, in the Peerage of Great Britain, was in 1788 for Richard Howe, but became extinct on his death in 1799. The second creation, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom was in 1821 for Richard Curzon, and remains current.
First creation (1788)
The Howe family descended from John Grobman Howe, of Langar, Nottinghamshire. He married Annabella, illegitimate daughter of Emanuel Scrope, 1st Earl of Sunderland. Their son, Scrope Howe, sat as a Knight of the Shire for Nottinghamshire. In 1701 he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Glenawley and Viscount Howe. The second Viscount also represented Nottinghamshire in the House of Commons and served as Governor of Barbados. He married Charlotte, Baroness von Kielmansegg, niece of George I. Her mother was the illegitimate half-sister of the King. Lord Howe was succeeded by his son, the third Viscount. He was a Brigadier-General in the British Army and was killed during the Battle of Carillon in 1758.
He was succeeded by his younger brother, Richard, the fourth Viscount. He was a distinguished naval commander best known for his victory of the Glorious First of June in 1794. In 1782 Howe was created Viscount Howe, of Langar in the County of Nottingham, in the Peerage of Great Britain, which entitled him to a seat in the House of Lords. In 1788 he was further honoured when he was made Baron Howe, of Langar in the County of Nottingham, with remainder to his daughters and the heirs male of their bodies, and Earl Howe, with normal remainder to heirs male of his body. These titles were also in the Peerage of Great Britain. Lord Howe had no male issue and on his death in 1799 the viscountcy of 1782 and earldom became extinct. He was succeeded in the barony of Howe according to the special remainder by his eldest daughter Sophia Charlotte (see below). The Irish titles passed to his younger brother, William, the fifth Viscount. He was a noted soldier and served as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in North America during the American Revolutionary War. He had no surviving issue and on his death in 1814 the barony of Glenawly and viscounty of Howe became extinct.
Second creation (1821)
The aforementioned Lady Sophia Charlotte, who succeeded her father as second Baroness Howe in 1799, married the Hon. Penn Curzon, Member of Parliament for Clitheroe. He was the only son of Assheton Curzon, second son of Sir Nathaniel Curzon, 4th Baronet, of Kedleston (ancestor of George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, and the Barons and Viscounts Scarsdale; see Viscount Scarsdale for earlier history of the family). Assheton Curzon represented Clitheroe in the House of Commons for twenty-seven years. In 1794 he was raised to the Peerage of Great Britain as Baron Curzon, of Penn in the County of Buckingham, and in 1802 he was further honoured when he was made Viscount Curzon, of Penn in the County of Buckingham, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Lord Curzon was succeeded by his grandson, the second Viscount. He was the only son of Penn Curzon and Lady Howe. In 1821 he assumed by Royal license the additional surname of Howe and the same year the earldom held by his maternal grandfather was revived when he was created Earl Howe in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. In 1835 he also succeeded his mother as third Baron Howe. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Earl. He sat as Conservative Member of Parliament for Leicestershire South.
He died without male issue and was succeeded by his younger brother, the third Earl. He was a General in the British Army. His eldest son, the fourth Earl, was a Conservative politician and held minor office in the Conservative administration of 1895 to 1905. On his death in 1929 the title passed to his eldest son, the fifth Earl. He was a Conservative Member of Parliament and also involved in the world of motor racing. His only son, the sixth Earl, had four daughters but no sons and on his death in 1984 the line of the fourth Earl failed. The late Earl was succeeded by his second cousin, the seventh Earl and (As of 2013[update]) present holder of the titles. He is the only son of the actor George Curzon, son of the Hon. Frederick Graham Curzon-Howe, second son of the third Earl. Lord Howe held office from 1991 to 1997 in the Conservative administrations of John Major. He is now one of the ninety elected hereditary peers that remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999. As a descendant of Sir Nathaniel Curzon, 4th Baronet, of Kedleston, he is also in remainder to this title, which is held by his kinsman the Viscount Scarsdale.
Several other members of the Curzon-Howe family have also gained distinction. The Hon. Frederick Howe (1823–1881), third son of the first Earl, was a Captain in the Royal Navy. The Hon. Ernest George Howe (1828–1885), sixth son of the first Earl, was a Colonel in the British Army. The Hon. Sir Leicester Smyth (1829–1891) (who assumed the surname of Smyth in 1866), seventh son of the first Earl, was a General in the British Army and served as Governor of Gibraltar. The Hon. Montagu Curzon (1846–1907), eighth son of the first Earl (and eldest from his second marriage), was a Colonel in the Rifle Brigade and Member of Parliament. The Hon. Sir Assheton Curzon-Howe, ninth son and youngest child of the first Earl, was a naval commander and served as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet from 1908 to 1910. His eldest son Leicester Charles Assheton St John Curzon-Howe (1894–1941) was a Captain in the Royal Navy. Lady Mary Anna Curzon, only daughter of the second marriage of the first Earl, married James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn. Their granddaughter Lady Cynthia Hamilton married Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer, and was the grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales. The aforementioned George Curzon, son of the Hon. Frederick Graham Curzon-Howe, second son of the third Earl, was an actor.
List of titleholders
Viscounts Howe (1701)
- Scrope Howe, 1st Viscount Howe (1648–1713)
- Emanuel Scrope Howe, 2nd Viscount Howe (c. 1700–1735)
- George Howe, 3rd Viscount Howe (c. 1725–1758)
- Richard Howe, 4th Viscount Howe (1726–1799) (created Baron Howe and Earl Howe in 1788)
Earls Howe; First creation (1788)
- Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe (1726–1799) (extinct)
Viscounts Howe (1701; Reverted)
- William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe (1729–1814) (extinct)
Barons Howe (1788)
- Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe (1726–1799)
- Sophia Charlotte Curzon, 2nd Baroness Howe (1762–1835)
- Richard William Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe, 2nd Viscount Curzon, and 3rd Baron Howe (1796–1870) (had already been created Earl Howe in 1821; see below)
Viscounts Curzon (1802)
- Assheton Curzon, 1st Viscount Curzon (1730–1820)
- Richard William Curzon-Howe, 2nd Viscount Curzon (1796–1870) (created Earl Howe in 1821)
Earls Howe; Second creation (1821)
- Richard William Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe (1796–1870)
- George Augustus Frederick Louis Curzon-Howe, 2nd Earl Howe (1821–1876)
- Richard William Penn Curzon-Howe, 3rd Earl Howe (1822–1900)
- Richard George Penn Curzon, 4th Earl Howe (1861–1929)
- Francis Richard Henry Penn Curzon, 5th Earl Howe (1884–1964)
- Edward Richard Assheton Curzon, 6th Earl Howe (1908–1984)
- Frederick Richard Penn Curzon, 7th Earl Howe (b. 1951)
The heir apparent is the present holder's only son Thomas Edward Penn Curzon, Viscount Curzon (b. 1994).