Henry Howard (historian)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Henry Howard (1757–1842) was an English antiquarian and family historian, best known as the author of Memorials of the Howard Family.

Henry Howard, 1839 engraving by Charles Turner after Archer James Oliver


Born at Corby Castle in Cumberland on 2 July 1757, into a Roman Catholic family,[1] he was eldest son of Philip Howard (1730–1810) of Corby Castle, who wrote Scriptural History of the Earth and of Mankind (London, 1797). His mother was Anne, daughter of Henry Witham of Cliff, Yorkshire. Howard was educated at the college of the English Benedictines at Douay, and for a short time in 1774 studied at the University of Paris.[2]

On 17 December 1774 Howard entered the Theresian Academy in Vienna, and there became a friend of Montecuccoli and Marsigli. He left Vienna in September 1777, but failed to obtain permission to serve in the English army. He then travelled for a time with his father and mother. At Strasburg the governor, M. de la Salle, and General Wurmser showed him favour, and during the two or three years that he passed in study there, living with his father and mother, he often visited Cardinal Rohan. General Wurmser tried to induce him to accept a commission in the Austrian service, but he refused, still hoping that he might obtain an English commission. In 1782, however, he went with Prince Christian of Hesse-Darmstadt to the camp before Prague. In 1784 a final attempt on the part of the Earl of Surrey to get him admitted into the German detachment of the Duke of York's forces failed; and the following year he returned to Great Corby.[2]

Cross on the village green at Wetheral, originating in a maypole set up in 1814 by Henry Howard[3]

Howard spent the rest of his life as a country gentleman and antiquary. In politics he was a Whig; he signed the petition in favour of parliamentary reform, and advocated the repeal of the Penal Laws against Catholics. When in 1795 it became possible, Howard was made captain in the 1st York militia, with which he served for a time in Ireland. In 1802 he raised the Edenside rangers, and in 1803 the Cumberland rangers: for this regiment he wrote a short work on the drill of light infantry (1805). In later life he was a friend and correspondent of Louis-Philippe. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and in 1832 high sheriff of Cumberland.[2]

Henry Howard, posthumous portrait by James Ramsay

Howard died at Corby Castle on 1 March 1842.[2]


Howard's major works were:[2]

  • Remarks on the Erroneous Opinions entertained respecting the Catholic Religion, Carlisle, 1825; other later editions.
  • Indications of Memorials ... of Persons of the Howard Family, 1834, privately printed.

He also contributed to Archæologia, and assisted John Lingard, Agnes Strickland and others (Cuthbert Sharp, Mark Aloysius Tierney, Patrick Fraser Tytler)[4] in historical work.[2] With Charles Butler he helped Charles James Fox in tracking the papers of James II, as far as the Scotch College in Paris.[5]


Howard married first, 4 November 1788, Maria, third daughter of Andrew Archer, 2nd Baron Archer. She died in 1789, leaving one daughter; the monument by Nollekens erected to her memory in Wetheral Church, Cumberland, is the subject of two of William Wordsworth's sonnets. Howard's second wife, whom he married 18 March 1793, was Catherine Mary (d. 1849), second daughter of Sir Richard Neave, 1st Baronet of Dagnam Park in Essex. She kept journals, and printed privately at Carlisle from 1836 to 1838 Reminiscences for her children, 4 vols. By her he left two sons and three daughters.[2] The elder son Philip Henry Howard was a Member of Parliament.[6] Their daughter Emma Agnes married William Petre, 11th Baron Petre, as his second wife.[7] Of the other children, Henry Francis married the Hon. Sevilla Erskine; Catherine married the Hon. Philip Stourton; and Adeliza married Henry William Petre.[8]


  1. ^ Marchand, J. A. "Howard, Henry". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13911.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1891). "Howard, Henry (1757-1842)". Dictionary of National Biography. 28. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  3. ^ English Heritage, Wetheral Cross, the Green
  4. ^ Henry Lonsdale (1872). The Worthies of Cumberland: The Howards. George Routledge & sons. p. 119. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  5. ^ J. R. Dinwiddy (1992). Radicalism and Reform in Britain, 1780–1850. Hambledon Press. p. 22. ISBN 1 85285 062 0. 
  6. ^ Howard, Philip Henry (1801-1883), of Corby Castle, Cumb.
  7. ^ Charles Roger Dod (1855). Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage. S. Low, Marston & Company. p. 438. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  8. ^ A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. Henry Colburn. 1839. p. 176. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1891). "Howard, Henry (1757-1842)". Dictionary of National Biography. 28. London: Smith, Elder & Co.