Nottingham, Charles Howard, 1st Earl Of
NOTTINGHAM, CHARLES HOWARD, 1ST EARL OF I (1536- 1624), English lord high admiral (also known as 2nd Lord Howard of Effingham), was the eldest son of William, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, lord high admiral, by his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Gamage of Coity in Glamorganshire, and was born in 1536. He was nearly connected with Queen Elizabeth, his father's sister, Elizabeth Howard, being mother of Anne Boleyn. During Mary's reign he is said to have served at sea with his father, and on the accession of Elizabeth his kinship, together with his good looks and abilities, secured his early advancement. In 1559 he was sent as ambassador to France to congratulate Francis II. on his accession, and in 1569 was general of the horse under the earl of Warwick for suppressing the Roman Catholic rebellion in the north. The next year he commanded a squadron of ships to watch the Spanish fleet which came to conduct the queen of Spain from Flanders, on which occasion " His lordship, accompanied with 10 ships only of Her Majestie's Navy Royal, environed their Fleet in a most strange and warlike sort, enforced them to stoop gallant and to vail their bonnets for the queen of England." 2 In the parliaments of 1563 and 1572 he represented Surrey, and succeeded to his father's title on the 29th of January 1573. He was installed a knight of the Garter on the 24th of April 1574, and made lord chamberlain of the household, an appointment which he retained till May 1585, when he became lord high admiral of England. He also filled the offices of lord lieutenant of Surrey and high steward of Kingston-upon-Thames. He was one of the commissioners at the trial of the conspirators in the Babington Plot and of Mary, queen of Scots, in 1586, and, according to Davison, Elizabeth's secretary of state, it was owing chiefly to his persuasion and influence that Elizabeth signed the death-warrant. 3 In December 1 587 he hoisted his flag on the " Ark." His letters at this time reflect vividly his sense of the impending danger. " For the love of Jesus Christ, Madam," he writes to Elizabeth, " awake thoroughly and see the villainous treasons round about you, against your Majesty and your realm, and 1 i.e. In the Howard line ; see above.
2 Fuller's Worthies, ii. 361.
1 Nicolas's Life of Davison, pp. 232, 258, 281.
draw your forces round about you like a mighty prince to defend you. Truly, Madam, if you do so, there is no cause for fear." 4 On the approach of the Armada on the 6th of July 1 588, Howard describes thus the disposal of his forces: " I have divided myself here into three parts, and yet we lie within sight of one another, so as if any of us do discover the Spanish fleet we give notice thereof presently the one to the other and thereupon repair and assemble together. I myself do lie in the middle of the channel with the greatest force. Sir Francis Drake hath 20 ships and 4 or 5 pinnaces which lie beyond Ushant and Mr Hawkins with as many more lieth towards Scilly." 6 He directed the various engagements (see ARMADA), and stayed himself to conduct the attack on the " San Lorenzo," stranded off Calais, arriving in consequence at the great fight off Gravelines some time after the engagement had begun. His tactics have been criticized both by contemporary and by later authorities, but his position was a perilous one, opposed to an overwhelming force of the enemy, and rendered still more difficult by the queen's untimely economy, Howard himself contributing largely to the naval expenses and to the relief of the numerous seamen poisoned by bad food and landed at Margate. " It were too pitiful to have men starve after such a service."' Instead of risking all in a pitched battle with the enemy, a course which probably appealed more to his dashing subordinates, he resolved to pursue the less heroic method of " plucking their feathers little by little"; 7 and his prudence, while justified by the extraordinary results, was also greatly praised by so good a judge as Raleigh. Shortly afterwards, under Howard's directions, a " Relation of Proceedings " was drawn up (now printed in the Navy Records Society Publications, i. 1-18).
In 1596 Howard arid Essex commanded the expedition against Cadiz, when a squadron of the enemy's ships was destroyed and two of the number brought home. Howard's intention was to limit the expedition entirely to naval operations, but Essex insisted on landing, and Howard, who had been specially charged by Elizabeth to protect her favourite, 8 was obliged to follow in his support. The town was sacked and the forts destroyed; the naval prizes, however, but for this diversion would have been more numerous. The council of war then refusing to countenance any further attempts on land, Howard and Essex returned with the expedition to England. On the 22nd of October 1596 Howard was created earl of Nottingham.
In February 1598, on a scare of an intended invasion, he was ordered to take measures for the defence of the country, and again in 1599, when he was appointed " Lord Lieut. -general of all England," and exercised full authority both over the army and the navy. He took a leading part in suppressing the rebellion of Essex, and served as a commissioner on his trial in February 1601. In December 1602 he entertained Elizabeth at Arundel House, but made no attempt to rival the gorgeous and expensive entertainments given to the queen by some of his contemporaries. Elizabeth's favour, in his case, required no courting by such methods, and it was to Nottingham that she named James as her successor on her deathbed. He continued to hold his office as lord high admiral under the new king, and in 1605 was despatched as ambassador to Spain, where his great reputation, together with his amiable character, perfect temper and unfailing courtesy, secured the successful negotiation of peace. He served on numerous commissions, including those on the union of the two kingdoms in 1604, for the trial of the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot and of Henry Garnett in 1606, and for reviewing the articles and rules of the order of the Garter in 1618, and he attended Princess Elizabeth on her marriage to the elector palatine with a squadron to Flushing in 1613. Nottingham, who, unlike many of the Howards, was 1 Navy Records Society: Papers Relating to the Spanish Armada, June 23rd, i. 225.
6 Howard to Walsingham, July 6. Ib. i. 245. Ib. ii. 183.
7 Ib. i. 341 and Cal. of State P. Dom. 1581-1590, p. 516.
8 See H.'s letter to Essex on this subject, Hist. MSS. Contm. Marquess of Salisbury's MSS. vt. 239.
a staunch Protestant, 1 was commissioner in Surrey for inquiring after recusants, 2 and in the diocese of Winchester for hearing ecclesiastical causes; he sat on the government commission for discovering and expelling Roman Catholic priests, and was mentioned in 1602 from Douay as one of the three enemies most feared by the recusants. 3 On the report of the commission on the navy in 1618 and of the abuses then exposed, Lord Nottingham, though no blame was attached to himself, being now an old man over eighty years of age, vacated his office of lord high admiral, receiving the sum of 3000 with a pension of 1000, and being granted a special precedence, limited to his person, as earl of Nottingham of the earlier Mowbray creation, and still keeping the lord-lieutenancy of Surrey. He died at Haling House, near Croydon, on the 14th of December 1624, and was buried at Reigate, a monument being afterwards placed to his memory in St Margaret's church at Westminster. He was a striking and almost heroic figure in the Elizabethan annals, no unworthy leader of such men as Drake, Hawkins and Raleigh, the defender of his country at a time of imminent peril, and by his splendid character and services he was placed beyond the reach of the intrigues and jealousies which troubled the reputation of many of his contemporaries and above even the suspicion of ill-doing.
Lord Nottingham married (i), in July 1563, Catherine,daughter of Henry Carey, 1st Lord Hunsdon, cousin to the queen, by whom he had, besides three daughters, two sons William, who died in his father's lifetime, and Charles (1570-1642), who succeeded as second earl of Nottingham; and (2), when in his 68th year, Margaret, daughter of James Stuart, earl of Murray, by whom he had two sons, the youngest of whom, on the death of his half-brother without male issue, succeeded as third earl of Nottingham; on his dying childless in April 1681 the earldom became extinct, the barony of Effingham passing to the descendants of the first earl of Nottingham's younger brother, Sir William Howard, from whom the fourth earl of Effingham (creation of 1837) and 14th baron Howard of Effingham (b. 1866), who succeeded in 1898, was descended.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)