Guest Contribution: Genealogical notes on the Howarth/Howorth family by Jeremy Howarth


1500s – 1800s



We are indebted to Jeremy Howarth for genealogical notes from his research on the Howorth family of Herefordshire and Radnorshire. From an origin in Lancashire, a later branch of the family settling at Whitehouse became prominent landholders locally and then in Radnorshire at Maesllwch Castle.  Other references on this website principally relate to five generations of the Howarth family who owned and occupied the Whitehouse Estate on the boundary of Ewyas Lacy and the Golden Valley from 1566 to 1745. The last of the male line locally was Herbert Howorth who died in 1745. The estate then descended to his three sisters.

Variations in spelling include Howorth and Howarth; documents relating to the family on this website generally use the spelling Howorth though either can be used as a search term for many documents listed in our index.


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Genealogical notes on the Howarth/Howorth family

by Jeremy Howarth


The Herefordshire branch

The family in Herefordshire owned several houses at different times.

1. The Haworthe of Burghope family appears in the 1569 Visitation of Herefordshire where they were described as descending from the Howarths of Howarth Hall in co Lancs and so are clearly an offshoot from Great Howarth, near Rochdale.

2. Their arms (or a cross Croslet Gu) are described as ‘Hawkeworth’ – the meaning of which I am not sure. Hawkeworth arms existed but why the Haworthes of Burghope Hall used this name and these arms I am not sure. This name may connect to a family they married into. They are not connected to the arms of the Howarths of Howarth Hall (stags’ heads).

3. The arms of the Howarths of Burghope near Hope under Dinsmore were described and illustrated by George Strong in his Heraldry of Herefordshire, London 1848. He apparently found shields in Herefordshire churches but I have no knowledge as to whether he was a reliable historian. His description of the arms was: Gules on a bend argent an escallop of the first between six cross-crosslets fitchy of the second. This coat of arms is shown on the book plate but not described in the text.

In the 16th century the Haworth family mansion was Burghope House at Wellington, near Hope-under-Dinmore. The house was rebuilt around 1650 and is recorded in a print published in The Gentleman’s Magazine in September 1791. It was demolished around 1800. The arms shown are similar to those of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, with an escallop substituted for the duke’s Scottish shield.  (Strong 1848).

This shield is of particular interest as it has long been believed in the Howarth family – but not necessarily elsewhere – that the Howarths of Rochdale were the family from which the Howard family e.g. Dukes of Norfolk came. This shield indicates an early connection between the Howarth shield and that of the Howards.

4. The first known Howarth of the Hereford line (per the Visitation), Alexander, may not in fact have been the first Howarth to arrive from Lancashire – see next point. It looks as if Alexander fought at the Siege of Rhodes in 1522. It is known that English soldiers were there. There was a connection between Dinmore and the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes and elsewhere, which just might explain how a Howarth acquired land at Dinmore.

5. A John Howarth of co. Hereford was a Benedictine student at Gloucester College, Oxford in 1521 and was described as ‘gen.’ i.e. of good birth. He took a B.D. degree. It must be likely that he was related to the Herefordshire Howarths of the 1569 Visitation in which case the Howarths arrived before 1500.

6. In 1460 a John Arundell from the diocese of Lincoln was ordained (sub) deacon by the Bishop of Hereford and was installed in the (undefined) ‘church of Howarth’ – perhaps a chapel of a Howarth house (?) – see Sun, Jian, The Clergy of the Diocese of Hereford in the later middle ages, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham, 2015.

The Herefordshire Howarth family died out for lack of a male heir in the C18.

The Radnorshire branch

7. .A branch of the Herefordshire Howarths settled in Radnorshire by the 17th century acquiring Maesllwch Castle by the early 18th century. This branch produced three MPs in the 18th and early 19th centuries – two Humphreys and one Henry.

8. The last (Sir) Humphrey Howarth M.P. was a parliamentarian interested in foreign policy, an owner of racehorses and the one who fought the notorious duel in Brighton in 1806.

Appendix on Radnorshire Howarths:

A number of Howarth MPs have been involved in national politics but in almost all cases as back bench MPs. Among the first was Sir Humphrey Howarth, the receiver of Crown Rents in Cheshire between 1714 and 1730. He was knighted in 1715. He lived in Maesllwch Castle and believed he would find little opposition if he stood as MP for Radnorshire as a Whig. Although he was the M.P. from 1722-1755 several elections were fiercely contested by the Duke of Chandos, Lord Lieutenant of the County on behalf of his son. Howarth had to face large electoral costs which ultimately ruined him financially. He was briefly Governor of Barbados in 1738 but seems to have been almost bankrupt in 1750, having rebuilt the castle at great expense and borrowed £26,000 to do so, which he was unable to repay. He made little impression on Parliament.

Another Howarth, Henry Howarth, KC was elected M.P. for Abingdon in 1782, where he was the Recorder. He was a Whig and spoke on the preliminaries for peace (in America) in 1783. He sadly drowned in a sailing accident on the Thames in 1783 before he had much opportunity to become better known.

Another Humphrey Howarth (b. 1749), son of the Rev. Henry Probert Howarth and younger brother of Henry, became Whig MP for Evesham in 1806 and from 1808 until 1820. As his family’s fortunes were declining when he was a young man, he went to India as a surgeon and managed to make a substantial fortune from the opium trade. Although Humphrey did speak on a variety of topics in Parliament, including India, he became better known for reasons outside of politics. He was at Brighton races in 1806 and had an argument after drinking with the Earl of Barrymore. A duel was demanded and accepted. Humphrey turned up the next morning naked except for his underpants and the Earl refused to fight. The reason for his lack of clothes was that Howarth had been an army surgeon in India and knew that infection of a wound was much more likely if dirty clothing infected the wound. After the (non) duel he was the owner of some good racehorses.

Not much is known of what the 18th century Howarth MPs actually did in Parliament. They were Whigs and presumably backed the various Whig governments but there are few records of any policies they supported, with the minor exceptions of Henry.

Henry Howarth KC. MP. was born in 1746 the son of a cleric from Maesllwch in Radnorshire and a great nephew of Sir Humphrey Howarth M.P. He qualified as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn and became a K.C. and Recorder of Abingdon in 1780. He is reported as having earned 7,600 gns. at the bar in 1782. He sadly drowned in the Thames at the age of 36, leaving four illegitimate children.




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