Howard, William (d.1308) (DNB00)

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For works with similar titles, see William Howard.

HOWARD, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1308), judge, was perhaps the son of John Howard of Wiggenhall, Norfolk (living 1260), by Lucy, daughter of John Germund. The family, which was probably of Saxon origin, belonged to the class of smaller gentry, and was settled in the neighbourhood of Lynn, Norfolk. The name Howard, Haward, or Hayward, is said to have been compounded of haye (hedge) and ward (warden), and to have denoted originally an officer whose principal duty it was to prevent trespass on pasture-land. Howard was counsel to the corporation of Lynn, and appears as justice of assize for the northern counties in 1293, and was in the following year commissioner of sewers for the north-west of Norfolk. He was summoned to parliament as a justice in 1295, and on 11 Oct. 1297 was appointed a justice of the common pleas. In the following year he purchased Grancourt's manor, East Winch, near Lynn, where he had his principal seat. In 1305, and again in 1307, he was one of the commissioners of trailbaston. He must have died or retired in the summer or autumn of 1308, the patent of his successor, Henry le Scrope, being dated 27 Nov. in that year. In or about the reign of Henry VII a figure of him kneeling in his robes with the legend 'Pray for the soul of William Howard, chief justice of England,' was inserted in one of the stained-glass windows in the church of Long Melford, Suffolk. He does not seem, however, to have held the office of chief justice (Dugdale, Orig. 44, Chron. Ser. 34). Howard married, first, Alice, daughter of Sir Robert Ufford, ancestor of the first earls of Suffolk; secondly, Alice, daughter of Sir Edmund de Fitton of Fitton in Wiggenhall St. Germains, Norfolk. By his first wife he had no issue; by the second two sons, Sir John and Sir William. By the marriage of Sir Robert Howard, a lineal descendant of Sir John, with Margaret, daughter and coheir to Thomas de Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, part of the estates of the duchy passed to their son, Sir John, first duke of Norfolk of the Howard family [q. v.]

[Henry Howard's Memorials of the Howard Family, 1834, App. i.; Ellis's Letters of Eminent Literary Men (Camden Soc.), 115; Cal. Inq. post mortem, i. 171; Promptorium Parvulorum (Camden Soc.); Blomefield's Norfolk, ed. Parkin, ix. 190 et seq.; Genealogist, ed. Marshall, ii. 337 et seq.; Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 265; Dugdale's Chron. Ser. pp. 31, 33; Parl. Writs, i. 29 (3); Madox's Exch. ii. 91; Rot. Parl. i. 178, 218; Collins's Peerage, ed.Brydges, i. 51 et seq.; Foss's Lives of the Judges.]

J. M. R.