HOWARD, Thomas (1682-1725)

HOWARD, Thomas (1682–1725)

suc. fa. 30 Mar. 1695 (a minor) as 6th Bar. HOWARD OF EFFINGHAM

First sat 9 Nov. 1703; last sat 15 Dec. 1724

bap. 7 July 1682, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Francis Howard, 5th Bar. Howard of Effingham, and Philadelphia, da. of Sir Thomas Pelham, bt. of Laughton, Suss; bro. of Francis Howard, later earl of Effingham.1 educ. travelled abroad 1701–2 (Italy and Austia).2 m. (1) 25 Feb. 1707, Mary (d.1718), da. and h. of Ruishe Wentworth of Sarre, Kent, and Ireland, 2da.; (2) 25 Jan. 1722, Elizabeth (d.1741), da. of John Rotherham of Much Waltham, Essex, and wid. of Sir Theophilus Napier, 5th bt. s.p. d. 10 July 1725; will 14 May 1725, pr. 5 Aug. 1725.3

Gent. of the bedchamber to Prince George, of Denmark, 1706–8.

Officer, 1st tp. of Horse Gds. 1706.4

Associated with: Hale House, Chelsea, Mdx.; Lingfield, Surr.; Greek Street, Soho, Westminster.

Thomas Howard, who, like other members of his dynasty was known by the territorial appellation of Effingham rather than as Lord Howard, was well connected to the political and aristocratic elite. On his father’s side he was related to the earls of Carlisle and the dukes of Norfolk; through his mother he was connected to the Pelhams. His parliamentary career up to 1715 was somewhat inactive and has been confused by the concurrent presence in the House of Lords of his kinsman Charles Howard, 4th Baron Howard of Escrick.

Effingham was already reputed to be of Whiggish political sentiments when he took his seat at the first opportunity after attaining his majority. He attended the session for 55 per cent of sittings. Early in November 1703 and again on 26 Nov. he was forecast by Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland as being opposed to the legislation against occasional conformity; on 14 Dec. 1703 he duly voted against the bill. Throughout the winter of 1703 and spring of 1704, he dined on almost a daily basis with the Whig Charles Bennet, 2nd Baron Ossulston (later earl of Tankerville).5 Effingham attended the session for the last time on 22 Mar. 1704, missing the last week of business before the prorogation. On 24 Oct. 1704 he was present for the first day of the new session and thereafter attended one-third of all sittings. His attendance was at best sporadic and on 23 Nov. he was noted at a call of the House as being excused attendance. He was present during the passage of the re-introduced occasional conformity bill and continued to attend in fits and starts until the prorogation on 14 Mar. 1705.

Effingham attended the first (1705–6) session of the new Parliament for 34 per cent of sittings. He was not recorded as being present on 6 Dec. 1705 for the ‘Church in danger’ debate, but quite possibly came into the chamber after prayers since a division list records, plausibly, that he voted with the Whigs in favour of the motion that the Church was not in danger. His main involvement in the business of the House was personal: on 19 Feb. 1706 for the first and only time he reported from a committee, the bill under consideration being for the benefit of William Hugessen, who was married to his wife’s kinswoman Elizabeth Adye.6

Although the Junto was in need of Whig support in the Lords, Effingham attended for only 22 per cent of sittings in the 1706–7 session. On 30 Dec. 1706 he helped to introduce both William Cowper, Baron (later Earl) Cowper, and his own kinsman Thomas Pelham, Baron Pelham of Laughton. On 11 Jan. 1707, in company with the Catholic Thomas Howard, 8th duke of Norfolk, and the non-juror Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon, he attended the funeral of the Tory Henry Grahme. Grahme’s mother was a Howard and the two men were also connected through the court of Prince George (from which Grahme had been dismissed the previous year). Another member of the House who attended the funeral was Grahme’s Cumberland neighbour, William Nicolson, bishop of Carlisle, with whom Effingham often exchanged visits and correspondence.7

Somewhat oddly Effingham appears to have registered a proxy in favour of the court Whig Robert Darcy, 3rd earl of Holdernesse, on Sunday 2 Feb. 1707. If he did so, the proxy was technically vacated the following day when Effingham attended the House. On 19 Feb. he attended the session for the last time, missing the last seven weeks of business, when the union with Scotland was the most pressing item on the parliamentary agenda. He does not appear to have registered his proxy again for this period, nor did he attend the brief session of April 1707. He resumed his seat on 6 Nov. for the 1707–8 session, of which he attended 30 per cent of sittings. After the dissolution a printed list of peers’ party allegiances recorded him inaccurately as being a ‘papist’, probably confusing him with his kinsman and namesake, Norfolk.

Effingham attended a third of sittings in the 1708–9 session. On 21 Jan. 1709 it was thought that he might vote with the Tories over the voting rights of Scottish peers, although, given his ongoing closeness to Ossulston, it seems unlikely that he would have broken ranks with the Whigs at this time. He was also involved in attempts to convert Norfolk, visiting William Wake, bishop of Lincoln, in February 1709 (together with Henry Howard, earl of Bindon) to ask for the bishop’s assistance in bringing over ‘the head of their family’ to the Church of England. Wake agreed to debate the issues with Norfolk and a Catholic priest but Norfolk appears to have changed his mind and the attempt at conversion was abandoned.8 Effingham did not attend the Junto meeting of 17 Mar. 1709 hosted by Ossulston to discuss the Scottish treason bill, but he dined with Ossulston two days later.9

Effingham missed the first part of the winter session of 1709–10, even though a complaint of breach of privilege was presented on his behalf on 19 Dec. 1709. Surprisingly, the complaint does not appear to have aroused any controversy, despite concerning a dispute over lands in Ireland rather than in either England or Scotland and which appear to have been the subject of an action in the Irish court of chancery. Effingham also alleged that the actions he complained of occurred while he was attending the Westminster Parliament on 17 Feb. 1709, although his last recorded attendance that month was on 14 February. The House upheld his petition, ordering the offender to be taken into custody by the serjeant-at-arms and the sheriff of co. Meath to restore Effingham’s lands.10 Effingham came to the House only once that session, on 9 Jan. 1710 but the parliamentary agenda for that day offers no obvious explanation for his decision to attend. He missed the entire trial of Henry Sacheverell and when the Lords divided on the verdict on 20 Mar. 1710, Effingham was noted as being in the country.

Following the dissolution in Sept. 1710, Robert Harley, the future earl of Oxford, calculated the amount of support on which he could rely in the Lords. He listed Effingham as a court Whig who was unlikely to support the new Tory ministry. Effingham attended the new Parliament on 27 Nov. 1710, the third day of business, but again came to the House only sporadically, this time for 24 per cent of sittings. On 3 May 1711 he attended for the last time that session, later joining Henry Herbert, 2nd Baron Herbert of Chirbury, at the Queen’s Arms, together with his long-standing friend Ossulston.11 Four days later Effingham registered his proxy in favour of John West, 6th Baron De la Warr; it was vacated at the end of the session on 12 June 1711.

In advance of the winter 1711 session, Effingham registered his proxy in favour of Pelham of Laughton. It was not required since Effingham attended the House on the first day of business on 7 Dec.; he was present thereafter for 21 per cent of sittings. On 2 Dec. 1711 he was listed by Oxford as one of the peers to be canvassed before the ‘no peace without Spain’ motion and on 10 Dec. Effingham predictably voted against the ministry. On 19 Dec. he was also listed by Oxford as being a probable opponent in the Hamilton peerage vote the following day. Yet, in the new year, Effingham was listed by Oxford as a possible supporter, a calculation almost certainly reflective of the former’s straitened financial circumstances. Effingham had been award a royal pension but payment had been in arrears since June 1710, probably as part of a deliberate political strategy by Oxford.12

On 28 May 1712, in the vote on the restraining orders given to James Butler, 2nd duke of Ormond, Effingham joined a number of other court Whigs to vote with the ministry.13 On 7 June, after the queen’s speech in the House on the succession, Effingham was again one of the lords who abstained from voting as a result of court manipulation.14 Three days later he attended the session for the last time, missing the remainder of business before the prorogation on 8 July.

It may be no coincidence that, with Effingham’s arrears of pension paid up at Christmas 1712, in mid-March 1713 Swift again listed him as an opponent of the ministry. Yet he did not attend the following session, his absence perhaps prompted by renewed difficulty in securing payment of his pension. During May and June 1713 he was listed by Oxford as a likely opponent of the French Commercial Treaty. On 5 Jan. 1714 he was pleased to hear from one correspondent that the queen held ‘a good opinion’ of him; he was also anxious to present his ‘duty’ to Oxford and expressed satisfaction on learning that his arrears were to be paid.15

After Parliament assembled in Feb. 1714, Effingham attended the session on only three days: 29 Apr. (to take the oaths), 1 May, and 12 May 1714. Just why he chose to attend on those days is unclear. His absences are perhaps easier to explain, suggesting a desire to avoid overtly partisan divisions in the House. He was absent in April for the critical votes on the supposed danger to the Protestant succession and the queen’s response. On 13 May 1714, the day after visiting the House for the last time that session, he registered his proxy in favour of Charles Montagu, Baron (later earl of) Halifax (vacated with the prorogation on 9 July). Despite his dalliance with Oxford, it seems that he remained a supporter of the Whigs: in May 1714 Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham, forecast that Effingham would oppose the Tory schism bill.

Effingham did not attend the brief Parliament in August 1714 following the death of the queen. His political and parliamentary career after 1715 will be examined in the next part of this work. He died at Spa in July 1725, in comfortable financial circumstances, leaving his extensive landed estates in trust for the benefit of his second wife, Elizabeth. She (who later married Conyers Darcy) was named as sole executor. Effingham was buried at Lingfield on 4 Aug. 1725 and, in the absence of male offspring, was succeeded by his brother Francis as 7th Baron Howard of Effingham (later earl of Effingham).


  • 1 Collins Peerage (1812), v. 280.
  • 2 CSP Dom. 1700–2, p. 349; HMC Buccleuch, ii. 764–5.
  • 3 TNA, PROB 11/604.
  • 4 Add. 61283, ff. 48–49.
  • 5 TNA, C 104/113 pt. 2; C 104/116, pt 1. 16, 17 Dec. 1703, 11, 18, 21, 22, 24 Feb. 1704, 7, 8, 9 Mar. 1704; PH, x. 170, 177.
  • 6 E. Hasted, Kent, iii. 353–4.
  • 7 Nicolson, London Diaries, 408–9, 426.
  • 8 LPL, ms 1770, ff. 74v, 77r.
  • 9 PH, x. App. 2; TNA, C 104/116, pt 1,, 17, 19 Mar. 1709.
  • 10 PA, HL/PO/JO/10/6/190/2622; In Canc. … Richard Jones Esq; complainant (1708); Add. 61595, f. 149.
  • 11 TNA, C 104/116, pt. 1, 3 May 1711.
  • 12 CTB, 1714, pp. 109.
  • 13 PH, xxvi. pt. 2, pp. 163, 167, 178, 183.
  • 14 Christ Church Lib. Oxf. Wake 17, f. 329.
  • 15 Add. 70282, Effingham, to ?, 5 Jan. 1714.