John Howse, Rev.
  b: ~1570
  d: 30/Aug/1630 - Eastwell Par., Co. Kent, England - bur: 2/Sep/1630

Spouse: Alice Lloyd?

Child-1: Hannah
          2: Peninah - b: ~1599 - England
                             d: ~1675 - Barnstable Twp., New Plymouth Col.
                            m: Robert Linnell
          3: Drusilla - b: ~1601 - England
                            m: Simon Plyer or Player - 1623? - Co. Kent, England
          4: John - bp: 19/Jun/1603 - Eastwell Par., Co. Kent, England
                        m: Mary Osborne - 18/Sep/1623 - Eastwell Par., Co. Kent, England
          5: Priscilla - bp: 25/Aug/1605 - Eastwell Par., Co. Kent, England
                            bur: 28/Nov/1618 - Eastwell Par., Co. Kent, England
          6: Thomas - bp: 21/Aug/1607 - Eastwell Par., Co. Kent, England
                             d: ~Oct-Nov/1643 - London, England
                            m: Elizabeth Osborne
          7: Samuel - bp: 10/Jun/1610 - Eastwell Par., Co. Kent, England
                             d: 1661 - Scituate Twp., New Plymouth Col.
                            m: Elizabeth Hammond - ~Apr/1636 - Watertown, Mass. Bay Col.
          8: Henry - bp: 28/Jun/1612 - Eastwell Par., Co. Kent, England
          9: Elizabeth - b: 1615 - Co. Kent, England

Biographical Details:

The origin of the surname "Howse" is problematical at best and, moreover, its spelling was quite variable in English and colonial records in which it was commonly rendered "Howse", "Howes", or "House".  Indeed, the latter spelling seems to have become more predominant in later generations, perhaps, owing to its convergence with the common English noun "house", which descends from the Old English form "hús" and which has essentially the same meaning as the modern form.1  Accordingly, one might suppose that the surname and the common noun share the same etymology, but this is probably not so (at least in the present case).  Alternatively, the name may be derived from the antique word "howe", denoting a hill or high place and remaining in current use only as an element of relatively few place names in the north of England.  In this case, one might suppose that the surname descends from a grammatical construction such as so-and-so "of the howes (hills)" or something similar, which became fixed as a family name, perhaps, at the beginning of the fifteenth century when patrilineal surnames became adopted in England as common custom.2  Even so, this is merely speculation and it is likely that the name (or any corresponding cognate of it) has different origins in different lines of descent.

It is commonly asserted that John Howse was born at Eastwell in County Kent and was the son of Thomas and Alice Hinton Howse.  Although, this could be correct, there does not seem to be any documentary evidence in support of such a presumption.  After 1603, he was, indeed, the rector of the parish church at Eastwell (St. Mary's), but it may be reasonably supposed that like many clergymen of local parishes, he had originated somewhere else.  Accordingly, it is reported that John Howse was educated at Cambridge University, but details of his matriculation and subsequent graduation are unknown.  Moreover, it may be reasonably inferred that if he was rector at Eastwell, he had likely served previously as a lower ranking clergyman, e.g., a curate, in some other parish, which remains unknown.  In support of this presumption, it appears that he had married and had several children prior to his service at Eastwell.  Therefore, as a matter of chronology one may reasonably suppose that John Howse was born, perhaps, about 1570 and that he attended university in the late 1580's.  Within this context, it has also been asserted without significant substantiation that John Howse and Alice Lloyd married August 30, 1593, at Lavenham in County Suffolk.  Again, no documentary source affirming this date or his wife's identity is known (although, her given name as "Alice" can be established from John's will).  Even so, some researchers have associated Rev. John Howse with a minor noble family of the same name having estates at Besthorpe near Attleborough and Morningthorpe Manor near Long Stratton in County Norfolk.3  Indeed, this geography would be favorable in support of his education at Cambridge, his marriage in nearby Suffolk, and his probable Puritan sympathies, since the general region of East Anglia was a stronghold of Puritan sentiment.  Moreover, due to the custom of primogenture it was common for younger sons of country gentlemen to enter the service of the Church, since they did not inherit land.  Nevertheless, although these coincidences are suggestive, they remain entirely unsubstantiated and the origin of John Howse and his wife must be properly regarded as unknown.  Six children of Rev. John and Alice Howse can be confirmed from baptismal records of Eastwell and it seems evident that John Howse remained in this parish for the rest of his life.4  He died August 30, 1630, and was buried a few days later in the churchyard.  Of his children, at least three emigrated to New England, which suggests that at least some members of the Howse family had Puritan sentiments.  Likewise, when John's son, Thomas, died in London in 1643 or 1644, he made a specific bequest in his will to Mr. John Goodwine, minister at St. Stephen's Church in Coleman Street.  Indeed, a previous pastor of this church had been Rev. John Davenport, a prominent Puritan clergyman who had been persecuted by Archbishop Laud and emigrated to New Haven.  Even so, it does not seem that Rev. Howse ever broke completely with the Church of England.  Within this context, St. Mary's Church at Eastwell appears to have been an important parish to which curacies of smaller neighboring parishes, e.g., St. James' at Egerton and St. Mary's at Little Chart, were likely attached.5  Unfortunately, the historic church building at Eastwell collapsed due to decay in 1951 (and is now a ruin) and the church at Little Chart was destroyed by a V-1 flying bomb in World War II (although a new building was completed about ten years later).  Only, St. James' Church at Egerton remains intact.

Source Notes and Citations:
1. Patrick Hanks (ed.), Oxford Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, periodically updated.
     "1. English (southwestern): from Middle English hous 'house' (Old English hus).  In the Middle Ages the majority of the population lived in cottages or huts rather than houses, and in most cases this name probably indicates someone who had some connection with the largest and most important building in a settlement, either a religious house or simply the local manor house.  In some cases it may be a status name for a householder, someone who owned his own dwelling as opposed to being a tenant, but more often it is an occupational name for a servant who worked in such a house, in particular a steward who managed one.
     2. English: respelling of Howes.
     3. Translation of German Haus."
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2. ibid.
     "topographic name from the plural of Middle English how 'barrow' ..."
     "English: topographic name for someone who lived by a small hill or a man-made mound or barrow, Middle English how (Old Norse haugr), or a habitational name from a place named with this word, such as Howe in Norfolk and North Yorkshire."
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3. Joshua Crowell Howes, Genealogy of the Howes Family in America. Descendants of Thomas Howes, Yarmouth, Mass., 1637-1892, printed by F. Hallett, Yarmouth Port, MA, 1892: pg. unk.
      "The first of family enjoying any mention is John de Huse, who in 1066, A.D., received a grant of manor in Berkshire, England.  From him in unbroken line John Howys was descended.  The family settled in Norfolk County, England, in 1457, A.D., reign of Henry VI, from which time Besthorpe was the family seat for seven generations. ...
      The following gives the succession of Besthorpe: ...
John   Howys, 1457
Robert   " 1509, date of will
Thomas   " 1555 < Coat of Arms Granted 1519
Richard  " 1559 <REIGN VIII
James, son of Thomas, 1592
Robert, son of Thomas, married Ann of Caralton Rode, to which  place he removed, and was succeeded at Besthorpe by eldest son, James.
James, son of Robert, date unknown
John, son of Robert, of Besthorpe, died 1663
      Thomas, son of Robert, date uncertain - (here the name is spelled Howse), married Tabitha, daughter of John Hoope, of Morningthorpe, or Thorpe Hall Manor, which has since been the seat of the Howse family.  This place was settled in 1186 by Henry, son of Jocelyn, who had it of Vauxes, by the Abbot of Bury.  In 1198 it was settled on Wido, (guido or guy), who assumed surname Thorpe.  Was sold to Gurness of Boyland Hall (circa 1412) in whose possession it remained 'till it came into the Hoope family, probably by marriage.
      It was the third son of Robert, vis: Thomas, who was the father of Thomas, who with wife Mary Burr, emigrated to America and settled in that part of Yarmouth, now Dennis, on Cape Cod, in 1637.
      John Howse, who died in 1663, served as Sheriff of Norfolk County, England, and altered the spelling to Howes.  This is said to have been caused by a mistake in some important legal document, bearing on family estates."  (Howes Family Association,"BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HOWES FAMILY NAME",, 2007.)
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4a. New England Genealogical and Historical Register, Vol. 66, pgs. 356-8, 1912.
      "House entries in the Bishop's Transcripts of Eastwell, co. Kent include:   1603  John son of John Howse bapt. 19 June.  [Transcript signed by John Howse as rector, the earliest transcript bearing his signature.]
      1605  Priscilla daughter of John Howse bapt. 25 August
      1607, Thomas son of John Howse bapt. 21 August.
      1610, Sam: son of John Howes bap ye 10 June
      1612, Henrie son of John Howse bapt. 28 June
      1618, Priscilla daughter of John Howse buried 28 November
      1623  John Howse of Leneham and Marye Osborne of Ashforde was married here by license 18 September.
      1630  Mr. John Howse 'Minister of this parish' bur. 2 Sept. "

b. New England Genealogical and Historical Register, Vol. 67, pgs. 260-1, 1913.
      "The nuncupative will of John House, Clarke, parson of Eastwell [county Kent], was made a week before his death on 30 August 1630.  'To my wife Alice all my goods, and I make her my sole executrix.'  Witnesses: Elizabeth Champion, one of the testator's daughters, Drusilla Howes, and Mris. Joane Wallis.  Proved 8 September 1630 by the executrix named.  (Consistory Court of Canterbury, vol. 49, fo. 306)"

c. New England Genealogical and Historical Register, Vol. 69, pg. 284, 1915.
      "The will of Thomas Howse of St. Stephen in Coleman street, London, a Citizen and Brownbaker of London, was dated 18 Oct 1643.  It mentions wife Elizabeth; one third to son Samuel Howse; one third to 'the child my wife now goeth withal;' and the other third to pay legacies to brother John Howes £20 and to each child he shall have living at my death 50s; to brother Samuell Howse £20 and to each child he shall have living at my death 50s apiece; to sister Pininna Lynnell £10, and to every child she shall have living at my death 50s; £10 to the needy poor at the discretion of my friends Praise Baron and William Grainter the elder; to Mr. John Goodwine, minister of the word of God in the parish of St. Stephens, Coleman Street, 50s.  And if I die in London and he make my funeral sermon, 20s more....  Will proved 23 Dec 1644 by Elizabeth Howes, relict of the deceased."
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5. Philip G. Dormer, Eastwell Park Historiette, Eastwell Publications, Ashford, Kent, UK, 1999: pass.
      "The first occupant of the estate (Eastwell) we know of was a Saxon Thane by the name of Frederick who held it for Edward the Confessor until the arrival of the Normans and then Hugo de Montford held it for Bishop Odo of Bayeux.  Hugo had fought alongside William Duke of Normandy at Hastings.  Hugo's grandson, Robert of Curtoys, left on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the estate passed to the crown and to a family called Crevegue who following the fashion of the time decided to call themselves after where they lived so became the Eastwells!  Matilda de Eastwells died in 1267 leaving it to her son Bertram de Criol.
      Her grandson John may have seen the Lake House built during his time before being killed in the sea battle at Sluys in 1310.  It is also possible that another house was built during this time where the current manor now stands.  His wife Alianor died in 1350 and the estate passed to her daughter Agnes and it is thought that the church was built during this period.  She married Sir Thomas de Poynings and he was followed by his son Sir Micheal de Poynings who fought at Crecy with Edward the Black Prince (son of Edward III who lies at Canterbury).
      The third baron, another Sir Thomas was followed by his brother Richard who died on campaign in Spain alongside John of Gaunt.  The next Sir Robert (pre deceased by his son Richard) left the estate to his granddaughter Alianore.  She was the wife of Lord Percy Earl of Northumberland, grandson of the famous Hotspur.  The property went to and from this family due to the monarchy shift during The Hundred Years War and The War of The Roses.
      In 1537 the last Earl died without issue so the Barony died out and the estate was sold by Thomas Cheyney, William Walsingham, and William Fitzwilliam to Sir Christopher Hales in 1542 and then to Sir Thomas Moyle who employed a certain labourer called Richard Plantagenet.
      Richard is reputed to be one of many bastard children of Richard III and the story goes that he was at Bosworth Field when his father told him that his life would be in danger under the Tudors if his identity became known in the event of Richards defeat.  Richard of course was killed and the Tudor dynasty began that day Aug 23 1485.
      The last Plantagenet is said to have worked for Moyle on the estate and been noted to be able to read Latin, unheard of for labourers at the time, and eventually divulged his secret to his employer.  A house and well are now named Plantagenet on the estate and a tomb reputed to be his is in the area of the chancel of the ruined church.  What is known is that the parish registers state that 'Rychard Plantagent was buryed the 22 daye of December, anno ut supra. Ex registro de Eastwell, sub anno 1550'.
      The inscription on it reads 'Reputed to be the tomb od Richard Plantagenet 22 December 1550'.
      When Sir Thomas himself died ownership passed through his daughters to Sir Thomas Finch and to his son Sir Moyle Finch and on his death to his wife Elizabeth.  She in turn was in high favour and created Countess of Maidstone in 1623 and Countess of Winchilsea in 1629.  She died in 1633 and is buried at Eastwell as the other Finches and Moyles in large family vaults.  It is noted that in 1771 there were 38 lead coffins in the vault.
      Her son Thomas became the second Earl and his brother Heneage Finch was Speaker of The House of Commons.  Thomas's death allowed his son also called Heneage to accede the title and he became the first Earl of Nottingham and was also Solicitor General, Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor.  He remained loyal to the royal family during the civil war and on restoration of the monarchy was created Baron Fitzherbert of Eastwell.  During this time Nicholas Toke was rector of the St Mary's and his family vaults can be seen in the chancel today.
      The fifth Earl of Winchilsea was another Heneage and his wife was Anne Finch a famous poet who was troubled by severe depression and died in 1720 and was buried in the family vault in the South Chancel at the church.
      Between 1739 and 1799 George of Eastwell had the manor rebuilt by the eminent Italian architect Joseph Bonomi.  The eleventh Earl - George James was the last and sold the house in 1893 for £220,000 encompassing an area of 6,000 acres.  The Winchilsea graves can be seen in the churchyard today.
      In 1874 the second son of Queen Victoria and Duke of Edinburgh, Alfred Earnest Albert moved to Eastwell with his family and consequently there were innumerable influential and royal visitors.  Their second child Marie Alexandra Victoria was born in 1875 and was christened at St Mary's.  She and the rest of the family would leave when she was 12 but she later married to be Queen of Rumania at 17.  She would forever write of her fondness of Eastwell.
      The estate then passed to Lord Gerrard who also knew a few people and entertained at the estate notably Edward VII among others.
      During the Second World War the army used the area for tank manoeuvres and it was sealed off from the public.  Rumour has it that this may have weakened the chalk block construction of the church.  It is also believed that the construction of the lake in the 1840's also caused the blocks to absorb a lot more water than they should.
      This had the effect that in 1951 a workman nearby heard a terrible noise and turned to see the roof collapse taking arches and columns with it.  The church remains consecrated and in the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches.  The most ornate memorials having been removed to the Victoria and Albert Museum."  The ruins of the church are located just north of Kennington, which lies just to the northeast of Ashford in County Kent.
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Additional Citations:

6. Clifford L. Stott, "Lothrop and House Entries in the Parish Registers of Eastwell, Kent" , The American Genealogist, 70(4), 1995: pgs. 250-1.

7. John Simpson (chief ed.), Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, continuously updated.  (Available electronically at

8. Ancestral File: 842N-DK, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT, continuously updated.

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