The Howard Homepages


Virtuas Millie Scuta - Virtue is worth a thousand shields

As an old-English occupational surname, Howard means Keeper of Hogs and Sheep. Other meanings from German origin suggest the name Howard is from the words high, chief warden, brave, hardy, heart, mind. It may also be linked with similar sounding surnames such as Hayward, Heywood etc. some of which have occupational origins. It is likely to be Anglo-Saxon in origin, perhaps derived from the Norman personal name of Huard or Heward which are composed of the Germanic elements hug, meaning heart, mind, spirit plus hard, hardy, brave, strong. It can also be traced to the Anglo-Scandinavian personal name Haward, composed of the Old Norse elements, Ha meaning high plus Varor, guardian or warden. Given these possibilities, I must immediately dispel the suggestion that all Howards are foul-smelling (high) pig-keepers (hog-warden) from Norway.

Stuart Raymond's London and Middlesex: a Genealogical Bibliography has three entries for Howard - extracts from parish registers of Bethnel Green, Middlesex and Cobbham, Surrey 17-19th century. It is fairly evident from surfing the Internet, the growing interest in Genealogy and it is the legacy of one's surname which will help us unlock the door to our recent past!

Among the earliest written references we read of Huardus Houart in the Doomsday Book of 1086. Reaney's Dictionary of Surnames has several early examples of both variants, e.g. Willelmus Huward, was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Northumberland, 1170; John Heward, at Colchester, Essex, in 1337; and Geoffrey Houward, in Cumberland 1210.

Sir William Howard The royal house of Howard is the premier family of the English Roman Catholic nobility and was founded by Sir William Howard, Chief Justice of Common Pleas (Judge) in the reign of Edward I. Sir William is first recorded in 1277 when he bought land at East Winch. From 1285 he was council to the Corporation of Kings Lynn.

In 1298 he purchased the manor-house and methodically built up his holding in the parish by purchase, acre by acre. He also added to his possessions by marriage, both his wives were heiresses. Sir William died in 1308 leaving his family firmly established.

His eldest son, Sir John Howard was the grandfather of the 1st Duke of Norfolk whose family went on to establish the most famous Howard family of all time. The following image is that of Sir William Howard. It was drawn by Henry Lily in 1637 from a stained glass window in East Winch church, now destroyed. The family remains well established to this day, being the family name of the Earls of Carlisle, Effingham, Suffolk and Berkshire.

Amongst the most famous Howards to date are the two cousins, Lady Anne Boleyn, whose mother Elizabeth Howard was herself the daughter of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk and of course, Catheryn Howard, daughter of the Lord Edmund Howard, youngest son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk and Joyce Culpeper.

Both cousins were famous for loosing their hearts if not their heads to King Henry VIII in the 16th Century. Much more can be learned of this famous family who today retain a family seat in the West Sussex town of Arundle. A visit to the magnificent Arundle Castle will introduce the passing visitor to a family history of perhaps one of England's oldest noble families with strong ties throughout history to the monarchy.

Catheryn Howard

The Thames Ditton Howards Graham B. Howard 1997-2001. All Rights Reserved.