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Sir Henry Hoyle Howorth KCIE FRS (1 July 1842 – 15 July 1923) was a British Conservative politician, barrister and amateur historian and geologist.[1]

He was born in Lisbon, Portugal, the son of Henry Howorth, a merchant in the city. He was educated at Rossall School before studying law. He was called to the bar at Inner Temple in 1867, and practised on the Northern Circuit.[1] He was also the maternal great uncle of anthropologist Sir Edmund Ronald Leach.

He was a Unionist in politics, and was elected as Conservative member of parliament for Salford South in 1886.[1] He was re-elected in 1892 and 1895 before retiring from the Commons at the 1900 general election.[1]

Apart from the law and politics, Howorth was deeply interested in archaeology, history, numismatics, history and ethnography. He was a prolific writer, contributing articles to a number of journals.[1]

The books he authored summarise his areas of interest:

  • Mongolia: a three-volume History of the Mongols (1876-1888) and a History of Chinghis Khan and his Ancestors
  • The arrival of Christianity in England: St Gregory the Great and Augustine the Missionary (1913), The Golden Days of the Early English Church (1916)
  • and geology: The Mammoth and the Flood (1887), The Glacial Nightmare (1893) and Ice or Water? (1905). In his geological books he attacked the theories of Charles Lyell, discounting the existence of Ice Ages in favour of great floods.

In 1892 he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Indian Empire in recognition of his works on the history and ethnography of Asia. In 1893 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society, against considerable opposition as he lacked any formal scientific education. He subsequently became honorary librarian of Chetham College and a trustee of the British Museum.[1]

Howorth was a controverialist, frequently airing his opinions on the leters page of The Times under the pseudonym "A Manchester Conservative". He married Katherine Brierley in 1869 and they had three sons. She predeceased him in 1921. Sir Henry Howorth died in July 1923 aged 81, and was buried in Putney Vale Cemetery.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Obituary: Sir Henry Howarth, A Life Of Wide Interests, Politics, Science, And Art, The Times, July 17, 1923, p.14
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Mather
Member of Parliament for Salford South
Succeeded by
James Grimble Groves


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