Sir Robert Howard
Sir Robert Howard, January 1626 - 3 September 1698, buried in Westminster Abbey
Source: The Concise dictionary of National Biography
- Dramatist and creator of the 'new' Ashtead Manor
- Dramatist; nephew of Sir Robert Howard (1585-1653); rescued Wilmot from Parliamentarians at Cropredy Bridge and was knighted, 1644; Whig MP, Stockbridge, 1661, Castle Rising, 1679-98; auditor of the Exchequer; built Ashtead House, Surrey, 1684; privy councillor, 1689; commander of militia horse, 1690;
ridiculed as Sir Positive At-All in Shadwell's Sullen Lovers; perhaps the Bilboa of The Rehearsal; author of The Committee (revived at Covent Garden as The Honest Thieves, 1797), published with four other plays (1665), in one of which, the Indian Queen, Dryden assisted; opposed use of rhyme in drama; published also historical works and poems.
Source: Encyclopædia Britannica
- English dramatist, remembered chiefly for his dispute with John Dryden on the use of rhymed verse in drama.
Howard was knighted by the royalists in 1644 and was imprisoned during the Commonwealth, but after the Restoration he was elected to Parliament and ultimately became a member of the Privy Council. His proud and pretentious character provoked frequent attacks.
Of Howard's plays, the best were The Indian Queen (first performed 1664), a tragedy written in collaboration with Dryden; and The Committee (first performed 1662), a comedy of humours that satirised the Commonwealth regime and gained durable popularity from the character of the Irish footman Teague.
Howard's preface to Four New Plays (1665) began his dispute with Dryden, who had married Howard's sister, Lady Elizabeth Howard, in 1663. In his preface Howard opposed Dryden's dedicatory epistle to The Rival Ladies (1664), which held that rhyme was better suited to heroic tragedy than blank verse.
Dryden replied in Of Dramatick Poesie, an Essay (1668).
In the preface to The Duke of Lerma (1668), Howard replied in a rather more personal tone, but Dryden had the final word in the crushing Defence of an Essay of Dramatick Poesie prefaced to The Indian Emperour (1667).
Extract from: A History of Ashtead
- Sir Robert Howard bought Ashtead Manor from the Duke of Norfolk in 1680.
Sir Robert Howard who became the owner of Ashtead manor in 1680. He was born in 1626, son of the Earl of Berkshire.
He had a distinguished career after leaving Magdalen College, Oxford, fighting for the Royalists in the Civil War and being knighted when only 18 years old for his gallantry at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge in 1644.
He was imprisoned at Windsor Castle during the Commonwealth period but after the Restoration became M.P. for Stockbridge, Hampshire and created a K.C.B.
Sir Robert Howard was as well known in literary and dramatic circles as at Court and in politics.
His poems were admired by John Dryden, who married Robert's sister, Elizabeth.
He became a successful playwright, the most acclaimed of his plays being The Indian Queen and The Duke of Lerma, the King and Queen attending one of its performances in 1668.
During his years at Ashtead, Sir Robert had close relations with the composer, Henry Purcell, who composed the score for the operatic version of The Indian Queen.
When Sir Robert Howard bought Ashtead Manor and its lands in 1680 he soon decided to build a more prestigious house to live in.
He entertained profusely at the new house, his guests including Charles II, James II and William III.
Sir Robert Howard was four times married, his last wife being Annabella Dives, a maid of honour at Court.
The books are listed in alphabetical order of title.
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||The Duel of the Stags - A Poem, Together with an Epistle to the Author by Mr. John Dryden.
Sir Robert Howard: Published 1709 by H. Hills
||The History of the Reigns of Edward and Richard II - With Reflections, and Characters of their Chief Ministers and Favourites. As Also, A Comparison between those Princes Edward and Richard the Second, with Edward the First, and Edward the Third.
Sir Robert Howard: Published 1690 by F. Collins for Thomas Fox
||The Life and Reign Of King Richard The Second
Sir Robert Howard: Published 1681 by M.L. & L(angly)C(urtis)
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