Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Howard, Charles (1746-1815)

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612513Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 28 — Howard, Charles (1746-1815)1891Gordon Goodwin

HOWARD, CHARLES, eleventh Duke of Norfolk (1746–1815), born on 5 March 1746, was the son of Charles, tenth duke of Norfolk (1720-1786) [q. v.], by Katherine, second daughter and coheiress of John Brockholes of Claughton, Lancashire (Doyle, Official Baronage, ii. 601-2). He received little regular education either from Roman catholic tutors at Greystoke Castle, Cumberland, where he was brought up, or in France, where he spent much of his youth. But he had much natural ability and a kind of rude eloquence. His person, 'large, muscular, and clumsy, though active,' was rendered still less attractive by the habitual slovenliness of his dress, and figured frequently in Gillray's caricatures; but his features were intelligent and frank. At a time when hairpowder and a queue were the fashion, he had the courage to cut his hair short and renounce powder except when going to court. Throughout his life he was celebrated for his conviviality, as Wraxall, who often met him at the Beefsteak Club, relates (Posthumous Memoirs, i. 29). His servants used to wash him in his drunken stupors, as he detested soap and water when sober. Complaining one day to Dudley North that he was a martyr to rheumatism, and had vainly tried every remedy, ' Pray, my lord,' said he, 'did you ever try a clean shirt?' Among his associates he was known as 'Jockey of Norfolk.'

Howard became a protestant and a staunch whig. As Charles Howard, junior, he was chosen F.R.S. on 18 June 1767, and when Earl of Surrey was elected F.S.A. on 11 Nov. 1779. In Cumberland he was immensely popular, and is still remembered there. At the Carlisle election of 1774 he encouraged the efforts of some of the freemen to take the representation of the borough out of the hands of the Lowthers. At the elections of 1780 and 1784 he was himself returned for the borough. In parliament he joined Fox in actively opposing the prosecution of the American war. He became deputy lieutenant of Sussex on 1 June 1781, deputy earl-marshal of England on 30 Aug. 1782, and lord-lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire on 28 Sept. 1782. He was a lord of the treasury in the Duke of Portland's administration (5 April to December 1783), and became colonel of the first West Yorkshire regiment of militia on 10 Jan. 1784. On the death of his father, 31 Aug. 1786, he succeeded as eleventh duke of Norfolk, and was appointed high steward of Hereford in 1790, recorder of Gloucester on 5 Sept. 1792, and colonel in the army during service on 14 March 1794. On 29 Dec. 1796 he was nominated deputy lieutenant for Derbyshire. At the great political dinner at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, Arundel Street, Strand, on 24 Jan. 1798, at which nearly two thousand persons attended, the duke gave a toast, `Our sovereign's health—the majesty of the people.' The king, highly offended, caused him to be removed from his lord-lieutenancy and colonelcy of militia in the following February. The news reached the duke on the evening of 31 Jan., when he was entertaining the prince regent at Norfolk House (Lonsdale, Worthies of Cumberland, v. 57–64). The prince and the duke were for a time fast friends, and were the first to bring into fashion the late hours of dining. They subsequently quarrelled, but after some reconciliation, the prince invited Norfolk, then an old man, to dine and sleep at the Pavilion at Brighton, and with the aid of his brothers, the Dukes of Clarence and York, reduced him to a helpless condition of drunkenness (Thackeray, Four Georges).

Howard was consoled for the loss of his former dignities by being made colonel of the Sussex regiment of militia (29 Dec. 1806) and lord-lieutenant of Sussex (14 Jan. 1807). Lord Liverpool, on the formation of his administration in 1812, tried in vain to secure the duke's support by an offer of the Garter. He died at Norfolk House, St. James's Square, on 16 Dec. 1815, and was buried on the 23rd at Dorking, Surrey. On 1 Aug. 1767 he married Marian, daughter and heiress of John Coppinger of Ballyvoolane, co. Cork, but she died on 28 May 1768. He married secondly, on 2 April 1771, Frances, daughter and heiress of Charles Fitz-Roy Scudamore of Holme Lacey, Herefordshire, who survived until 22 Oct. 1820. He left no issue, and was succeeded in the dukedom by his third cousin, Bernard Edward Howard (1765–1842) [q. v.]

Despite his personal eccentricities, Norfolk lived in great splendour. He expended vast sums, though not in the best taste, on Arundel Castle, and bought books and pictures. He was deeply interested in everything that illustrated the history of his own family, and was always ready to assist any one of the name of Howard who claimed the remotest relationship (Gent. Mag. vol. lxxxv. pt. ii. pp. 631–2, vol. lxxxvi. pt. i. pp. 65–7, 104). He encouraged the production of works on local antiquities, like Duncumb's ' Herefordshire' and Dallaway's 'Sussex.' He was elected president of the Society of Arts on 22 March 1794.

His portrait was painted by Gainsborough in 1783, and by Hoppner in 1800. The former was engraved by J. K. Sherwin. An etched portrait is of earlier date.

[Collins's Peerage (Brydges), i. 141-2; H.K.S. Causton's Howard Papers; Gunning's Reminiscences of Cambridge, ii. 52.]

G. G.