Charles Howard

(1628—1685) army officer and politician

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(1628–85). Howard's nimble political footwork enabled him to make the awkward transition from ardent Cromwellian to ardent royalist. He was too young when the Civil War started to need a political stance but later gave strong support to Cromwell, serving as captain of his bodyguard and fighting with distinction at Worcester. His father-in-law, Lord Howard of Escrick, was a member of Cromwell's Council of State and his mother's cousin, Lord Eure, was in Cromwell's ‘other house’ of peers. Howard was made a viscount by Cromwell in 1657 and also served in the ‘other house’. But he kept his options open. After Cromwell's death he supported his son as protector but was accused of complicity in Booth's royalist rising in Cheshire in 1659. In 1660, returned to the Convention, he changed sides and helped to bring back Charles II. He also moved to Anglicanism, having been catholic, presbyterian, and independent in turn. The new regime forgave old sins. Howard was lord-lieutenant for Cumberland and Westmorland 1660–85, and for Co. Durham 1672–85. In the coronation honours, he was created earl of Carlisle. He served on various diplomatic missions and from 1677 to 1681 was governor of Jamaica. A broadsheet described him, not unfairly, as ‘of very complying principles’ and Burnet wrote charitably that he was ‘apt to go forth and backward in public affairs’.

From The Oxford Companion to British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.

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