WILLIAM, FIRST EARL OF PEMBROKE. (c. 1501 – 17 March 1570)
ENGLISH SCHOOL. WILTON HOUSE PICTURES.
79 in. H. 44 in. W. Panel. Library (at Wilton House).
Full length, standing, in black-slashed doublet and trunk hose, with short cloak, holding in his right hand the white staff of office and in his left his gloves. Beside him is a square-backed armchair covered in red leather studded with brass nails; he stands on a kind of wadded carpet or matting, in front of a dull green curtain; at his feet is a little rough-haired dog, very poorly drawn, and which was probably a later addition. The Earl wears a gold chain round his shoulders with a pendant jewel, probably containing the Balas Ruby mentioned in his will. 1)
On the curtain which forms the background is the following inscription, partially effaced:
WILLIAM HARBERT EARLE OF
PENBROOKE LORD STEWARD OF H ….. QWENE
ELIZABETHA ….. SY BRAVE KNIGH
FOR BOUNTIES AND GOOD
MANNERS HIGH ESTEMED IN
HIS TYME HE DYED THE ….. YEAR
OF HIS AGE IN ….. 2)
over this inscription is painted a cartellino after the manner of Holbein, with the inscription, in fine script: William Herbert, created Earl of Pembroke, 1551. It is possible that this may be a modern restoration of an older inscription now hidden; the spelling of the word Herbert suggests a date later than that of the painting.
On the base of a pillar which appears below the curtain to the right of the figure are the words:
A D 1567
This date, which, judging by the apparent age of the sitter, may be taken as correct, effectually destroys the theory that Holbein was responsible for its production, for that painter died in 1543. The year of his age, “66,” is obviously an error, as it is admitted that he died on the 17th March, 1570, aged sixty-three. It is probable that in restoring this date (which is suspiciously fresh) a 6 was substituted for the original o, and the inscription should read AETATIS 60.
1) This will was dated 28th December, 1567, and proved 3rd May, 1570. Among other bequests is the following: “Item he gave to the Quenes maiestie his beste jewell which he named his greate ballace and his newe faireste and richeste bedd.”
2) With regard to this inscription it is worth noting that the portrait of Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk, by Holbein, at Windsor Castle, has an old inscription in large capitals right across the upper part of the panel. which is painted over and almost entirely obliterated. It runs: THOMAS HOWARD DUKE OF NORFOLK MARSHALL AND TRESURER OF INGLONDE THE LXVI YERE OF HIS AGE. The phraseology and forms of the letters (which are identical with those of the Wilton picture) belong to a later age than that of Holbein; also Holbein rarely inscribed his pictures with the full names and titles of the persons portrayed, and more rarely still in English words; when he gives these particulars they are usually confined to the year and age of the person expressed in Latin or German, such inscription being mostly in fine script letters placed in an unobtrusive position in a cartellino up in a corner, or on an envelope or piece of paper. Nevertheless, from two pieces of evidence, it is proved that the inscription is as old as the reign of Charles I, for it is shown on a drawing by Ph. Fruytiers dated 1645, and is suggested in a print of Vosterman of 1630.-See Ernest Law’s Holbein’s Pictures at Windsor Castle.
Apart from the age of the Earl when the portrait was painted, the execution of the picture sufficiently proves that Holbein had no hand in its production 1) and it is clearly to be attributed to one of those little-known English painters who frequented the Court of Elizabeth, and formed their style on that of Mark Geerarts, Guillim Stretes, and others. In style it somewhat suggests Cornelis Ketel, but that painter did not come to England until 1573.
Of the small dog in the picture John Aubrey, writing about 1655, says: “Mem: This Wm. (the founder of his family) had a little cur dog which loved him, and the E. loved the dog; When the Earle dyed the dog would not go from his master’s dead body, but pined away, and dyed under the hearse; the picture of which dog is under his picture in the gallery at Wilton.” 2)
Exhibited Tudor Exhibition (New Gallery), 1890, No. 264.
The early history of the Herbert family is somewhat obscure, but they appear to have descended from Sir William ap Thomas, 3) of Raglan, who was knighted by Henry VI in 1426, and who was the fifth son of Thomas ap Gwilym ap Jenkin. Sir William married Gwladys, daughter of Sir David Gam, and by her had several sons, among them Sir William and Sir Richard Herbert of Coldbrook. Which William was created Earl of Pembroke by Edward IV, being the first of the Herberts to bear that title; he was known as “Gwilim Du” or “Black Will,” and was created a Knight of the Garter by the King: on the occasion of his investiture he and his brother, Sir Richard, had the royal command to renounce the Welsh custom of varying surnames, and to bear that of Herbert 4) for it appears that the surname of Herbert grew up in the families of the Earls of Pembroke and Powis and their immediate kinsmen, as the English name of the race or clan concurrently with the continuance of their old Welsh patronymics.
1) “This indifferent and coarse picture is either not the work of Holbein at all, or it has been so painted over as to be wholly unworthy of him. How could Holbein ever paint such miserable hands?” -Dr. Waagen. Passavant remarks that it is “rather a dry picture.”
2) It would be interesting to know how the old cataloguers reconcile this legend with the Holbein theory. Had the little cur dog been alive in his time it would have reached the advanced age of twenty-eight before expiring on its master’s tomb.
3) In writing this account I have borrowed freely from the late Mr. J. E. Nightingale’s Notice of William Herbert, etc., published in the Wiltshire Archaeological Society’s Journal, vol. xviii. The early history of the Herbert family is based on the researches of Mr. Octavius Morgan among the monuments still existing in the Priory Church at Abergavenny. Leland gives the following curious origin of the family: “In the XVI yere of King Henry (1432?). This yere one Owen, a Squyer of Wales, a man of low Byrth (Oene ap Mereduk ap Theodore cam directly of Lewelin Princes of Wales blood, and so no Man of base Bloode but by disdaine of Henry the VI uncles) wych had many Daye to fore maried secretely Quene Caterine, and had by her III Sunnes and a Doughtter, was taken and commaunded to Newgate to Pryson by the duke of Glocester, Protector of the Realme. And this yere he brake Pryson by meane of a Prest a Chapelyn of his … and one of his Sunnes was after made Erle of Richemont and the other Erle of Penbroke and the 3 a Monk of Westminster.”-Collect: Ioh: Lelandi, vol. i, p. 492.
4) In the (probably forged) commission alleged to have been issued by Edward IV, it is stated that “after wch creatyon [i.e., that of the Earldom in 1468] the Kynge his magestye commandyd the said Earl and Sr Richard Herbert, hys broder, to take their syrnamys after their fyrst progeny tor Herbert Fitzroy, and to foregoe the Bryttish order and Manner, whose usage ys to caulle every man by hys Fader, grand fader and greate Grandfader hys name.” The allusion to the” said Earl” shows that the document, unless prophetic, was in or after 1468. The name of Herbert had, however, certainly been assumed as early as 1460-61, and not improbably somewhat earlier.-Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. vi, p. 212.
John Leland gives the following account of this Earl’s death: “In the IX yere of K. Edwarde (1469) the Lorde Herbert Erle of Penbroke cam with 18 thousand Walsch Men. The Erle of Devonshire faulling at Debate with the Erle of Penbroke for Logging (? lagging) lefte hym, and Robyn of Ridesdale mette with the Erle of Penbroke … and toke the Erle of Penbroke and hys brother. … Aboute this tyme was the Lord Ryvers taken and one of hys Sunnes yn the Forest of Dene and brought to Northampton and with them Herebert Erle of Penbroke and Richard Herebert hys brother and all 4) behedid at Northampton by the Commaundment of the Duke of Clarence and the Erle of Warwick. And Thomas Herebert was slayn at Brightstow.” (This Thomas was, according to Collins, Sir William’s third son by his wife Gwladys.)
The Earl, on 27th July, the day after the battle, knowing he was to suffer death, made the following will: 1)
“In Nomine Jesu. Item I to be buried in the priory of Bergavenny, undre charge, bytwene my faders toumbe, and the chancell: and the cost that should have be at Tynterne, to be set upon the chancell, as my confessor, etc. shall say: and you my wyfe, and brother Thomas Herbert, etc. And wyfe, that ye remember your promise to me, to take the ordre of wydowhood, as ye may be the better master of your own, to performe my wylie, and to helpe my children, as I love and trust you, etc. And that C. Tonne of … be yeven to make the cloyster of Tynterne, etc. and xxI. to the Grey freres, where my body shall lygh: and that my body be sent for home, in all hast secretly, by Mr Leisone, and certain freres with him, etc. To Dr Leisone, ten marks a yere, to singe for my soule, during his life, etc.
“Item to two prestes to be found to sing afore the Trinitie at Lanteliowe for my soule, and for all there soules slayn in the felde, for two yere, etc. Item yat my almeshows have as much livelode as shall suffice to finde vi power men and one to serve theim. Wyfe pray for me and take ye said ordre yat ye promised me as ye had in my lyfe my hert and love.
“God have mercy uppon me and save you and our children, and our lady and all the seints in heven help me to salvation. Amen with my hand the xxvii day of Julie. William Pembroke.”
The extent of his possessions is set forth in the inquisition, taken shortly after his death, which says that he died on Thursday, next ensuing the festival of St. James the Apostle, and was then seized of the castle, manor, and lordship of Chepstow; as also of the manors of Berton, Tudenham, Magore, Radewyke, Caldecote, Mortimer’s-court, Milescort; with the castle and manor of Ragland in the marches of Wales. Likewise of the castle and manor of Pembroke, the lordship and hundred of Castle Martin, and St. Florence; the forest of Coyderath, the castle of Tenby; the lordship and bailiwicks of West Pembroke and East Pembroke; the bailiwicks and lordships of Dougeldy, Rous, and Kemys; the town of Kilgaran; the forest of Kevendryn; the castle of Lanstephan, and lordship of Penryn; the manors of Osterlowe, Trayne, and Clinton: also of the lordship and borough of Haverford West; the castle and lordship of Kylpeck; the castle and manor of Swansey; the lordship and territory of Gower; the lordship and territory of Kylvey; the castles and manors of Oystermouth and Llongholm: the manors of Landymore, Russely, Kythull, Trewydna, Limon, Pennard, and West Gower; the castle, town, lordship, and manor of Crugehoel, Stradu Issa, and Tretour; the manors of Domrum and Egloysyeyll; the castle and lordship of Dyngastowe; the castle and lordship of Roche and Pyll; and also the castles and manors of Munemouth and Dynas. 2)
1) Ex Regist. Godwyn, f. 228, a.-Collins.
2) Esc., 9 E. IV, n. 21.
This William married Anne, daughter of Sir Walter d’Evereux, Knight and sister to Walter d’Evereux, Lord Ferrers de Chartley; by her he had four sons, William, born in 1460, who succeeded him; 1) Sir Walter, the husband of Anne, daughter of Henry Stafford, second Duke of Buckingham, sine prole; Sir George and Philip Herbert of Lanyhangell, Esq.
Also six daughters: Cecilie, married to the Lord Greystoke; Maud, to Henry, Earl of Northumberland; Catherine, to George, Earl of Kent; Anne, to John Grey, Lord Powis; Isabel, to Sir Thomas Cokesey, Knight; and Margaret, first to Thomas Talbot, Viscount l’Isle, grandson of John, Earl of Shrewsbury, and afterwards to Sir Henry Bodrigham, Knight.
The said William, Earl of Pembroke, had also issue by Maud, daughter and heir of Adam ap Howel Graunt, his concubine, Sir Richard Herbert, of Ewyas, and Sir William Herbert, of Troye.
This Sir Richard Herbert, 3) of Ewyas, 4) married Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Matthew Cradock, of Swansey in com. Glamorgan, Knight, by whom he had three sons. First, William, born in 1506, the subject of this picture, who became first Earl of Pembroke (second Herbert creation), and is. ancestor of the existing Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, of Carnarvon, of the Duke of Powis, of Pool Castle (extinct 1747), and, in the female line, of the Marquis of Bute, who thence derives his Glamorganshire estates.
1) “But King Edward (IV), being desirous to dignify his son Prince Edward with the title of Earl of Pembroke, procured a resignation of the same from this William; and in lieu thereof created him Earl of Huntingdon, as by his charter, bearing date at York, 4th July, 1479, appeareth.”-Collins.
2 “This Sir Richard, of Ewyas, has a very fine canopied tomb in Abergavenny Church. It still retains traces of rich colouring, and is ornamented with several shields bearing the three lions of the Herberts with the bend let, also the three boars’ heads and crosslets of Cradock.
“There is also a fine altar-tomb in alabaster, carrying the effigies of Sir Richard Herbert and his wife, of Coldbrook, already mentioned as brother to the Earl of Pembroke of the first creation. This Sir Richard, of Coldbrook, must be carefully distinguished from Sir Richard of Ewyas, for by some strange mistake the effigies of this monument are figured in Sir R. C. Hoare’s account of Wilton, in his Modem Wilts, as those of Sir Richard Herbert, of Ewyas, and his wife, ancestors of the Earls of Pembroke, they being really the effigies of Sir Richard Herbert, of Coldbrook, and his wife, who had nothing to do with the Earls of Pembroke [the original copper-plate, from which Hoare’s illustration was printed, is at Wilton]. In the plate they are accompanied with the shield of arms of Herbert without the bendlet, which is most conspicuous in the real tomb of Sir Richard of Ewyas, and also the arms of Cradock, thus mixing up the two monuments by giving the figures of one with the arms of the other.”-J. E. Nightingale.
3) Morgan’s researches show that Richard Herbert was Gentleman Usher to Henry VII, and was appointed Constable and Porter of Abergavenny Castle, 22nd July, 1509, I Hen. VII; that he was not of Ewyas, nor was he a knight, the words” de Ewyas Miles” at present existing on his tomb at Abergavenny, being a gratuitous substitution of later date for the word “armiger,” seen in the inscription both by Symonds and by the author of Gough’s MS.-Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. vi, p. 216.
Second, Sir George Herbert, of Swansey, Knight, from whom Collins believes Sir John Herbert, secretary, etc., temp. James I, to have been descended, who married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Sir Thomas Berkeley, by whom he had a numerous issue. 1)
Third, Sir Thomas.
Of William’s early history we know little. Aubrey says” he was a mad fighting young fellow,” and then gives an account of a strange adventure which befell him at Bristol in 1527; this is in the main correct, but the details are more fully given by the Bristol historians. On Midsummer night in that year there was a great fray made by Welshmen on the King’s watch, and on the following St. James’s Day, the mayor and his brethren returning from a wrestling match, a dispute arose in which one Richard Vaughan, a mercer, was killed on the bridge by William Herbert, the cause being, “a want of some respect in compliment.” Herbert escaped through the great gate towards the marsh, where a boat being prepared and the tide ebbing he got into Wales, and afterwards went to France; where, according to Aubrey, he betook himself into the army and showed so much courage and readiness of wit in conduct that he was favoured by the King, who afterwards recommended him to Henry VIII.
His marriage with Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, must have had an important influence on his career. Sir Thomas, who died in 1517, had three children, William, afterwards Marquis of Northampton, Katherine, and Anne; he left all his extensive manors to his wife for life. He willed his daughters to have eight hundred pounds between them, as marriage portions, except they proved to be his heirs or his son’s heirs. 2) I can find no record of the date of this marriage, but there is no doubt that it took place before 1543, the year in which Henry VII I married, as his sixth and last wife, Katherine, Anne’s younger sister. The grant to Sir William Herbert of the Abbey and lands of Wilton seems to have had some connection with this royal alliance; the first grants, which include the site of the monastery, the manor of Washerne, and the manors of Chalke, given to William Herbert, Esquire, and Anne his wife, for the term of their lives, being dated March and April, 1542: these estates being re-granted on the 4th January, 1544 (Patent Roll, 35 Henry VIII, part 17), to Sir William Herbert, Anne, his wife, and their heirs male.
1) Collins, vol. iii, p. 116.
2) In 1571 the Marquis of Northampton died childless, and Henry, second Earl of Pembroke, became his heir, being the eldest son of his elder sister Anne. Camden gives the following short notice of his life, which is interesting as showing whence the arms and title of Parr of Kendall are derived:
“Supremum vitae diem hoc anno placide egit Gulielmus Parrus (Marchionis Northamptonicae obitus), Marchio Northamptoniae, amoenioribus studiis, Musicis, Amatoriis et ceteris Aulae jucunditatibus versatissimus, qui ab Henrico VIII primum ad dignitatem Baronis Parr de Kendalia, deinde ad nuptias Annae Bourcheriae, Comitis Essexiae unicae heredis, & simul ad Comitis Essexiae titulum, quum Rex ejus sororem duxisset; atque ab Edwardo Sexto ad Marchionis Northamptoniae Stilum & honorem provectus. Sub Mariâ, quod pro Janâ Greiâ Reginâ Subornatâ arma sumpserit, Majestatis damnatus, ab eâdem tamen mox condemnatus, ad patrimonium, ut postea ab Elizabethâ ad honores, restitutus, Liberos genuit nullos, sed Henricum Herbertum Pembrochiae Comitem, ex alterâ sorore nepotern, reliquit heredem.”
On 24th January, 1543-4, Sir William had a grant of the office of captain of the castle and town of Aberustwith in South Wales; 1) likewise the custody of Carmarthen castle for life. Also the same year was knighted. On the 27th of that month he had license to retain thirty persons at his will and pleasure, over and above all such persons as attend on him, and to give them his livery, badges, and cognizance. And being chief gentleman of the privy chamber, and of the Privy Council to Henry VIII when he lay on his death-bed, he constituted him one of his executors, leaving him by his will a legacy of £300, and appointed him one of the counsellors to his son Prince Edward, in all matters concerning both his private and public affairs.
At the funeral of Henry VIII this Sir William Herbert, and Sir Antony Denny, were the only two who were carried in the chariot with the royal corpse to Windsor, and were continually in waiting there till the interment. 2)
The first grant of estates made to him by the Government of Edward VI is dated 10th July, 1547: “The consyderacion of the gifte” being “ffor the fullfillinge of a Determinacion made by Kinge H. the viij by his last Will.” 3) This grant included the manors of North Newton and Hulcott, which remained in the possession of the Pembrokes down to 1680, when they were sold by Philip, the seventh Earl. Soon after the King’s accession Sir William went into Wales, where by his great interest and prudence he kept all in quiet; and on that insurrection of the Commons (3 Edward VI) in Wiltshire and Somersetshire, for pulling down in-closures, he raised forces, and by his courage and conduct totally suppressed them. For these services, he was made in 1549 Master of the Horse; and in the same year, being appointed with the Lord Russell (Lord Privy Seal) to suppress another insurrection in Devonshire and Cornwall, he assembled 1,000 Welshmen and marched with them to the city of Exeter; which having been besieged by the rebels, and destitute of provisions, those forces under his command, by their courage and industry 4) furnished it with all manner of necessaries in two days, and afterwards totally dispersed all those who made head against them.
1) Pat. 35 H. VIII, p. 5.-Collins.
3) State Papers, Domestic, Edw. VI, vol. xix,
4) Holinshed’s Chron., pp. 1025, 1026. “The whole country,” says Froude, “was put to the spoil, and every soldier fought for his best profit; the services of the mountain cattle lifters were made valuable to Exeter; for the city being destitute of victuals, was, by their special industry, provided in two days.”
Sir William Herbert and Lord Russell were with the forces in the Western Counties during the months of September and October 1549, so that they took no active part in the events which led to the fall of the Protector, Somerset. On the danger being imminent (I quote verbatim from Mr. J. E. Nightingale’s Memoir) Somerset sent his youthful son, Lord Edward Seymour, to Russell and Herbert with instructions to push forward immediately, as the King’s person was in danger. This missive met them at Wilton; they immediately started, and upon reaching Andover found letters from Warwick and the Council by which it appeared that the real danger to be feared was not from a conspiracy of the Lords, but from a fresh insurrection of the Commons, on the invitation of Somerset. Being still at the head of a portion of the army, the Protector had relied upon their aid, so that the defection of Russell and Herbert must have been a knell to the Duke. From Andover they sent an answer back to the Duke, by the hands of his son Lord Edward; it enters fully into the political state of the times, and gives sufficient reason for their course of action. This admirable letter has been printed by Tytler, who says: “Its right feeling and good sense, with the pure and vigorous style of its composition, render it a remarkable document.” It is dated 8th October, 1549, and signed J. Russell and W. Herbert.
Warwick and the Council were also looking anxiously for a reply. They had not long to wait; Lord Russell and Sir William Herbert must have returned to Wilton without a moment’s delay, for on the next day an explanatory letter was sent; this document is preserved in the State Paper Office. The following are some extracts from it:
“Incontinently upon our arrival here at Wilton, we received divers letters from the King’s Majesty and the Protector, to come forth to the Court with all diligence; and especially one that he sent by his son the Lord Edward. Upon the receipt thereof, we prepared ourselves to come up; and with such gentlemen as were then in our company, and with our servants, came as far as Andover, where we understood many things, for the countreys every way were in a roar that no man wist what to do.
Thus being at Andover, and weighing as well the state of the things above, as also the tickleness [tottering, uncertain state] of the country, which hitherto understandeth not what the matter may mean, we despatched the Lord Edward to the Protector with such answer as by the copy thereof, which we also send herewith, it may appear; and thereupon thought it very requisite to return to Wilton, there to abide the assembly of the gentlemen of all these parts, and to gather such power as may serve us to come thro’ withal to do good, if need should so require; and have sent to Bristol for some light ordnance and for money, with such other things as may be necessary …. And as we are glad that our chance was to be here now, where undoubtedly the place and the time have both served us to stand in better stead, and to do better service, than if we had been there with you, &c. From Wilton, 9th October, 1549·”
They immediately took active measures to meet the expected rising; the same day a letter was sent by Russell and Herbert to the Sheriff of Gloucester and others, “to suppress the publication of any idle rumors, and to forbid all persons from assembling without due authority.” A few days after this Somerset was arrested and for a time kept in the Tower, being released, after many examinations, on the payment of a fine and ransom amounting to £2,000 per annum in land, all his personal goods, besides the forfeiture of his offices.
It was not, however, until the year 1551 that Somerset’s final fall took place, and it is significant that the following changes in the peerage were made amongst the principal members of the Council. Warwick became Duke of Northumberland; Lord Dorset, Lady Jane Grey’s father, was made Duke of Suffolk; Sir William Herbert was on the 10th of October created Baron Herbert of Cardiff, and on the following day was advanced to the dignity of Earl of Pembroke. 1)
The ceremony took place at Hampton Court, and is thus mentioned in the Rawlinson MS. (B. 118, p. 20): “On Sonday the xith daye of October in the yere of ye raigne of the Kinge’s Majestie as aforesaid (Vth), at his highness Manner of Hampton Courte dyd create the Lord Henry Marques Dorcett, duke of Suffolk … and Sir William Herbert, Lord of Cardyff, erle of Penbroke.”
According to Collins, Sir William was elected a Knight of the Garter on 1st December, 1548, and installed on the 13th of the same month.
In the December following his elevation to the peerage, Lord Pembroke sat, together with twenty-six other peers, on the trial of the Duke of Somerset in Westminster Hall; the execution of this nobleman, followed by that of Lord Arundell, benefited him greatly: from the former’s forfeited estates he received the manor and parks of Ramsbury, 3) Hundred of Kinwardstone, the Broil of Bedwin situated on Doddesdown, Baydon, Axford, the Earldoms, 3) etc. From the latter: “Werdore (Wardour) Castle and park there which came to the Lord’s hands as an Escheat by the Attainder of Thomas Arundell Kt as that which he held of the Lord by Knights service, as of the Bell house at Wilton by the iiij part of a Knights fee.” 4)
1) “About this honorable Earl’s creation I make not any question, the one I meane the Barony being bestowed on him the 10th and the Earldom the 11th of October in the year aforesaid (5 K. Ed. VI).”- Augustine Vincent, A Discoverie of Errours, etc., 1622, p. 428.
2) Ramsbury, or Ramossbury Manor House was occupied by the Pembrokes down to the middle of the seventeenth century. Symonds, in his MS. journal, describes it as “a fine square stone house -a brave seate, tho’ not comparable to Wilton.” Ramsbury Manor was sold in 1676 by Philip, the seventh earl, to “one Powell,” for £30,155. This purchase was probably made on behalf of Sir William Jones, Kt., Attorney-General. – J. E. Nightingale.
3) The woodlands of the Earldoms, on the borders of the New Forest, remained in the possession of the Pembrokes until 1877, when they were sold under powers of the Inclosure Commissioners for the purpose of exchange.
In Hoare’s Wilts, Frustfield Hundred (p. 66), an account is given of the Earldoms, in which these woodlands are considered to represent one of the early grants to the Abbey of Wilton, under the name of Frustfield. This grant seems to have been included with South Newton, near Wilton, and had certain rights of pasturage and wood in the forest of Melchet. There is a Newton situated in the tything of Whelpeley close by Melchet. The description given of the Earldoms in the grant as well as in the Pembroke Terrier is “The Earldoms lye neare the fforest of Milshott in the fields and parish of Whiteparish, Landford, and Plaitford.” The Terrier adds: “These Woods did anciently belong to the Duke of Somerset, before his Attainder, but being then forfeited were granted out of the Crown as above.” (Granted in the patent of Ramsbury to William, Earl of Pembroke, and the heirs male of his body, 7th May, 6 Edw. VI.)
4) From an early MS. copy of the Pembroke Terrier, mentioned by Mr. Nightingale as being in the possession of Mr. W. Blackmore.
At the beginning of the year 1552 the Earl’s first Lady, Anne, departed this life at his seat at Baynard’s Castle. An account of her funeral is preserved in the Diary of Henry Machin, citizen of London (Camden Soc., vol. xlii): “On the 28th February was buried the noble countess of Pembroke, sister to the late Queen Catherine, wife of King Henry VIII. She died at Baynard’s Castle, and was so carried into Pauls. There were a hundred poor men and women who had mantle frieze gowns, then came the heralds; after this the corpse, and about her, eight banner rolls of arms. Then came the mourners both lords and knights and gentlemen, also the lady and gentlewomen mourners to the number of two hundred. After these were two hundred of her own and other servants in coats. She was buried by the tomb of (the Duke of) Lancaster. Afterwards her banners were set up over her, and her arms set on divers pillars.”
There were three children of this marriage: Henry, who succeeded his father; Sir Edward Herbert of Poole Castle, as it was anciently called (but afterwards Red Castle and Powis Castle), in com. Montgomery, Knight; and a daughter Anne, married to Francis, Lord Talbot, son and heir to George, the sixth Earl of Shrewsbury. Lord Pembroke married secondly Anne, daughter of George, fourth Earl of Shrewsbury, and widow of Peter Compton, ancestor of the Earl of Northampton; but he had no issue by her, who was buried at Erith in Kent, 8th August, 1588.
In 1552, several lords of the Court having agreed to have under themselves a considerable body of men, well-armed and horsed, and fit for service or any emergency, or summons of the King, the Earl was at a muster before his Majesty in Greenwich Park, on 16th May, with his band, the standard before them being of red, white, and blue, and a green dragon with an arm in his mouth, 1) and his men clothed in coats of embroidery of his own livery. In the same year he was sent, with the Earl of Huntingdon, to take a view of the fortification of Berwick, and other places in the North, pursuant to an order of Council. And on 17th February following, he rode into London to his mansion of Baynard’s Castle, with 300 horse in his retinue, whereof 100 of them were gentlemen, in plain blue cloth, with chains of gold, and badges of a dragon on their sleeves.
1) This badge, a wyvern vert holding in its mouth a sinister hand, couped at the wrist, gules, occurs on the armour made for Henry, second Earl, which is now in the Entrance Hall of Wilton House. The original Grant of Arms to William Herbert in 1542 is still preserved at Wilton and runs as follows: “To all present and to come whiche this present letter shall see rede or here. I Christofore Barker esquier also Gartier principall kyng of armes of Englishmen. Sendeth due humble recommendacion and gretyng. Equite willeth and reason ordeigneth that men vertuouse & of commendable dis posicion, & Iyving be by their merites renowned and rewarded in their persons in this mortal life so brief and transitorie. And how be it that Willim Herbert Sewer to the kynges maiestie Son to Richard Herbert son naturall to Willim Herbert ErIe of pen broke which Willim Herbert is dyscendyd of honest liynage and also his auncestors and pdecessors hath long contynued in nobilite and beryng armes. Neverthelesse the said Willim Herbert being incertyne how or in what manner he ought to bere and use his scochon w helme and crest. And he not willyng to do any prejudice to nomans psonne hath requiryd and instantly desired me the said garter principall kyng of armes of Englishmen, to ordeyne demise and assyne unto hym a scochon with helme and crest lawfull and convenyent.
And therefore consideryng his requeste so just and reasonable, by vertue of the auctorite and power to myne office of principall kyng of armes annexed and attributed have devised ordeyned and assigned unto the said Willim Herbert and his posterite with their deue difference; the scochon helme and crest with the appertenaunces herafter folowyng. That is to witt. Asure and gouls party per pale over all IIJ Iyoncensy silver. A border gobenny golde and gouls upon the gouls bessanted upon his crest the hedde of a woman moore sable yes (eyes) and teth silver aboute the hedde a torche sylver and gouls in the ere a rynge golde & cheyne gold a cressant for a difference of the seconde brother, as most playnly appeareth in the margent. To have and to hold unto the said Willim Herbart and his posterite for evermore. In witness wherof I the said gartier principall kyng of armes have signed these presents with myne owne han de and have sett thereto the seal of myne office and also the seale of myne armes. Yeuen at London the XIJ day of Ffebruary In the yere of our lorde God. A thowsande fyve hundreth XLII and of the reign of oure soveraign Lorde kyng henry the eight by the grace of God kyng of Englande ffraunce and Irlande defensor of the feith and in erth under Christ the Supreme hede of the Church of England and Irlande the XXXIIIJ. (Signed) BARKER GARTIER.
In the same year King Edward made his last state progress through the West country, paying a visit to Wilton, probably making this the occasion for further favors, for we read in Strype’s Memoirs that the King bestowed on the Earl the manor of Dunyate in Somersetshire, with other lands and possessions, and the office of keeping the forests and parks of Clarendon, Pauncet, Buckholt, and Melthurst in Wilts to him and his son for their lives. 1)
In the same passage Strype says of the Earl: “Sir William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, now grew great, having been lately advanced from a commoner to a nobleman, specially since the conspiracy of the Duke of Somerset, wherein it was pretended, that he, together with the Duke of Northumberland and the Marquis of Northampton his brother-in-law should have been assassinated; whereby he became linked in with those two overtopping men. He was made president of the Council for the Marches of Wales in 1552. And in this last year of the king, he made two great purchases of land and lordships from the crown, which cost him upwards of £ 1800. He was made the first and chief of a commission to view and survey all church goods, plate, furniture, etc., belonging to any church, chapel, or guild, in the county of Chester.” In order to understand the part played by Lord Pembroke in the Duke of Northumberland’s scheme for diverting the succession from the Catholic Princess Mary to Lady Jane Grey, it is necessary to take a brief survey of the political situation at the commencement of the year 1553.
1 Strype, Ecc. Mesn., vol. ii, p. 74. It is difficult to arrive at any exact estimate of the grants made on the part of the crown to Lord Pembroke during the reign of Edward VI. Mr. Froude credits him with having received a larger share than any other member of the Council, and refers to a report made to Parliament on the accession of Mary, professing to give particulars of the various gifts made by Edward and his ministers. This document is evidently drawn up with the intention of giving as little information as possible. In this report (State Papers, Domestic, Edw. VI, vol. xix) there are thirteen entries of grants to Lord Pembroke, including some exchanges and purchases, but in only some cases are the values given, and the exact localities are in no instances mentioned. The grant of the loth October, 1551, on the occasion of Pembroke’s advancement to the peerage (Particulars for grants, Exchequer, Court of Augmentation, 5th Edw. VI, Sect. iv) refers to the rents reserved originally on the Wilton and other estates by Henry VIII. Also to Baynard’s Castle, of which he had been previously” keeper of the same by virtue of letters patent to him thereof made.” Also to the manor of Bishopston, formerly a possession of the late Bishop of Winchester. On Gardiner’s return to power in the time of Queen Mary, he did not fail to remind Pembroke, at the first meeting of the Council, that he was in possession of estates which had been taken from the see of Winchester.- J. E. Nightingale.
The Duke of Northumberland, during the last months of the King’s life, ruled the kingdom with absolute authority, by means of the Privy Council; as soon as the state of the monarch’s health gave rise to serious apprehension, he took measures for securing a Protestant successor, and at the same time promoting the interests of his own family. If Henry VII be considered as the stock of a new dynasty, it is clear that on mere principles of hereditary right, the crown would descend, first, to the issue of Henry VIII; secondly, to those of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots; thirdly, to those of Mary Tudor, Queen of France. The title of Edward was on all principles equally undisputed; but Mary and Elizabeth might be considered as excluded by the sentence of nullity, which had been pronounced in the case of Catherine and in that of Anne Boleyn, both of which sentences had been confirmed in Parliament. They had been expressly pronounced illegitimate children. Their hereditary right of succession seemed thus to be taken away, and their pretensions rested solely on the conditional settlement of the crown on them, made by their father’s will, in pursuance of authority granted him by Act of Parliament. After Elizabeth, Henry had placed the descendants of Mary, Queen of France, passing by the progeny of his eldest sister Margaret. Mary of France, by her second marriage with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, had two daughters, Lady Frances, who wedded Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, created Duke of Suffolk; and Lady Elinor, who espoused Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland. Henry afterwards settled the crown by his will on the heirs of these two ladies successively, passing over his nieces themselves in silence.
By the marriage of Lady Jane Grey to his fourth son, Lord Guildford Dudley, Northumberland centered the hopes of the Protestant succession in his own family; at the same time, to secure the adherence of the Earl of Pembroke, her sister, Lady Katherine, was wedded to Henry, Lord Herbert. Bound in this way to the Duke’s schemes, Pembroke was one of the chief of the Privy Council who, on the King’s death in July 1553, signed a letter to the Lady Mary, acknowledging the Lady Jane Grey lawful Queen of the realm: he was also in attendance when Northumberland announced the succession to that ill-fated lady.
The whole nation, however, showing itself averse to the Duke’s proceedings in the settlement of the crown, the Earl convened a meeting at his town residence, Baynard’s Castle, on the 19th July, at which Winchester, Arundell, Shrewsbury, Bedford and others were present. The Lord Mayor and other magistrates of the City having been summoned, the meeting was addressed by Lord Arundell, who said the country was on the brink of civil war, and if they continued to support the pretensions of Lady Jane Grey to the throne, such war would inevitably break out and so lead to the interference of France and Spain. Pembroke rose next. The words of Lord Arundell, he said, were true and good, and not to be gainsaid. What others thought he knew not; for himself he was so convinced that he would fight in the quarrel with any man; “and if words are not enough,” he cried, flashing his sword out of the scabbard, “this blade shall make Mary Queen, or I will lose my life.” 1) The upshot of this meeting was that Mary was immediately proclaimed Queen by Pembroke himself from the cross at Cheapside, amid the acclamations of the citizens, an act which saved him from “the great mischiefs which had like to have befallen him by the marriage of his son Henry with Lady Katherine Grey.” 2)
Having secured his position with the new sovereign, he lost no time in declaring his son’s dangerous alliance invalid, and procured a divorce, Lady Katherine 3) subsequently marrying Lord Hertford, son of the Duke of Somerset.
1) Froude, Hist. of England, chap. xxx.
2) There are several later accounts of this quasi-marriage, most of them incorrect in some particulars. Sir Robert Naunton, in his Fragmenta Regalia, 1641, says: “By a letter written (by Pembroke) uppon his sonns marriage with the Lady Katharine Gray, he had like utterly to have lost himselfe; but at the instant of consummation as apprehending the un safety and danger of intermarriage with the blood royall, he fell at the queen’s feet, where he both acknowledged his presumption, and projected the cause and the divorce together. So quick was he at his worke, that in the time of repudiation of the sayd Lady Gray, he clapt up a marriage for his son, the Lord Herbert, with Mary Sidney, daughter of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland; the blow falling on Edward, Earl of Hertford, who to his cost took up the divorced lady.” Sir Robert Naunton has placed this event, of the first marriage, in the reign of Elizabeth, instead of Mary; he also confuses the second and third marriages of Lord Herbert.
Dugdale in his Baronage (vol. ii, p. 25S) also gives an account of the circumstances connected with the marriage, and quotes the statement of Sir Robert Naunton, but in his MS. additions to the Baronage (Collectanea Topographia et Genealogica, vol. ii, p. 180) he says: “In this passage Sr Rob. Naunton is somewhat mistaken; for certain it is that upon the repudiation of the lady Katharine Grey, being not ignorant of Queen Mary’s great affection to George, Earl of Shrewsbury, he marryed this his son Henry to Katherine, the daughter of that Earle: which Katharine shortly after departing this life, he speedily matcht himself to Mary, the daughter of Sir Henry Sidney, Kn’ of the Garter, by Mary his wife, daughter to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland; by which he did no lesse endeavour to ingratiate himself with the Lord Robert Dudley (one of the sons of that Duke, and afterwards Earl of Leicester), who at that time began to grow powerful at court; than by the former, to insinuate himself with Duke Dudley, the great man of his time.”
The marriage of Lord Herbert, however, with Katherine, daughter of Lord Shrewsbury, did not take place till some ten years afterwards, in the time of Queen Elizabeth.-J. E. Nightingale.
3) She was buried with her husband in Salisbury Cathedral.
The Earl was one of the twelve mourners at the funeral of King Edward, and was present at the Coronation of Queen Mary: the latter seems to have been fully assured of his fidelity, for she intrusted him with the suppression of the rioters who had assembled under Sir Thomas Wyat to oppose the unpopular Spanish marriage. Her trust was not misplaced, for by the Earl’s prompt action and the judicious disposition of his troops the insurrection was speedily crushed, and Wyat suffered death on 11th April, 1554.
The arrangements for the royal marriage were now complete, and on the 1st June the Marquis de las Navas, major-domo and envoy of Philip, landed at Plymouth, where he was received by Edward, Lord Dudley, and the Earl of Pembroke and royally entertained by the latter and his son at Wilton on his way to London. The Spanish King landed at Southampton shortly after the arrival of his envoy, and the Earl arrived with a brilliant company of two hundred mounted gentlemen dressed in black velvet and wearing heavy gold chains, to escort him to the Queen at Winchester. Pembroke played an important part in the magnificent marriage ceremony held in that city. Some embarrassment occurred as to the person who should give the Queen away, a part of the ceremony which had not been provided for. After a brief conference it was removed by the Marquis of Winchester and the Earls of Pembroke and Derby coming forward and performing the office in the name of the whole realm.
Two months later, on the 9th November, the Earl rode into London, against the sitting of the Parliament, having 2,000 horsemen in his retinue, with gold chains and velvet coats, with three laces of gold, and sixty other gentlemen in blue coats, guarded with velvet, and a badge of a green dragon. This custom of keeping up great personal retinues was commented on by Soranzo in his report to the Venetian Senate, dated August, 1554, in which he says: “The nobility, save such as are employed at court, do not habitually reside in the cities, but in their own country mansions, where they keep up very grand establishments, both with regard to great abundance of eatables consumed by them, as also by reason of their numerous attendants, in which they exceed all other nations, so that the Earl of Pembroke has upwards of 1000 clad in his own livery. In these their country residences they occupy themselves with hunting of every description, and with whatever else can amuse or divert them; so that they seem wholly intent on leading a joyous existence, the women being no less sociable than the men, it being customary for them and allowable to go without any regard either alone or accompanied by their husbands to the taverns, and to dine and sup where they please.”
In 1555 Pole, Gardiner, Paget, and Pembroke were chosen to meet and confer with the Bishop of Arras, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and Montmorency, regarding the terms of a general peace between Henry II of France and the Emperor Charles V, a project on which the Queen had set her heart. The conference, which took place near Calais, proved abortive.
All the energies and revenues of the Queen had been so exclusively directed to the wants of the Church, that the fortresses of Calais and Guisnes had been neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair. Since the taking of Boulogne the French had never ceased to regard the expulsion of the English as a feat to be accomplished, sooner or later. In a letter written in cipher from Michieli, Venetian Ambassador, to the Doge and Senate, dated 12th March, 1555, he says: “The King having sent in haste last week for the Earl of Pembroke, one of the chief noblemen of England, who as usual with him, was living in retirement at his country seat, 60 miles hence; his sudden appearance in London caused a very general report of its being induced by a war with France.” He afterwards finds “that the object of Pembroke’s mission was to superintend the fortifications of Guisnes, and to give advice to the deputy at Calais; Lord Wentworth’s youth and inexperience might encourage the French to attack those places, should the queen’s confinement terminate inauspiciously.” 1)
1) Venetian State Papers, 1555-6, No. 24.
Five days after this Frederici Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with Charles V, writes to the Doge and Senate: “The Earl of Pembroke, who is considered the chief personage in England, having more followers there than anybody, has arrived at Calais with only six servants, bringing letters from the king and queen for the warder, desiring him to obey the Earl’s orders. He has not said a word about the cause of his coming, which there and here has caused much comment. Many suppose, that to facilitate the peace with his most Christian Majesty, the emperor induced the queen to send Lord Pembroke because the French hold him in great esteem.” 1)
Pembroke’s stay at Calais did not exceed two months: the reasons for his sudden return are learnt in a letter from Giovanni Michieli to the Doge and Senate dated 6th May, 1555. 2) In these communications it was usual to write important political matter in cipher; the passage printed in italics was so written. “The Earl of Pembroke has been unexpectedly recalled from Calais, he expecting to remain there some time, having sent for his wife who was already on her way. Persons the best informed attribute this return solely to King Philip’s wish to have him about his person at the time of this delivery, relying greatly, Jet happen what may, on his fidelity and power, and on being able to make better use of him here than across the Channel; and should it be necessary to make any provision, either by covertly mustering troops, as has apparently been ordered, or for anything else, through his numerous followers, he will be able to do it better than all the others.” 3)
In 1557 the Earl was appointed Captain-General of the Queen’s army beyond the seas for the defense of Calais: “In this season although the French King, as was said, was verie loth to have warres with England, yet the Queene tangling herself contrarie to promise in her husbands quarrel, sent a defiance to the French King by Clarencieux, king of armes.
“King Philip, because of the warres towards, betwixt him and the French King, the first of Julie passed over to Calais, and so into Flanders, where on that side the seas he made provision for those warres. . . . She (the Queen) shortlie after caused an armie of a thousand horsemen and four thousand footmen with two thousand pioneers to be transported over to his aid, under the leading of diverse of the nobilitie and other valiant captains, whose names partlie follow: the earle of Penbroke, capteine generall, Sir Antonie Browne, Viscount Montacute, lieutenant generall under the said earle, etc.
1) Venetian State Papers, 1555-6, No.31.
2) Ibid., No. 72.
3) J. E. Nightingale.
“The Quaenes armie being transported over to Calis (as before ye have heard) marched to join with King Philip’s power, the which alreadie being assembled, hath invaded the french confines and being come before Saint Quintins planted a strong siege before that tower. To the rescue whereof the french King sent a great armie both of horsemen and footmen under the leading of the cones table of France. . . . The conestable upon saint Lawrence day which is the tenth of August, approached the town meaning to put in the same succours of more soldiers, with Dandelot the Admiral’s brother, that was within the town not furnished with such a garrison as was thought expedient for the defence thereof.
The Duke of Savoie and other captains of the army that sat at siege before the towne, advertised of the conestables cumming towards them, assembled the most part of their horsemen together, and with all speed made towards a passage, distant from the place where the french army stood hovering about a two English miles, and being got over they divided themselves into eight troops of horsemen . . . which gave such a furious and cruell charge upon the Frenchmen that they, not able to resist the same, were altogether defeated: whereof King Philip having knowledge, pursued them with all his force, in which pursuit there were slain of the Frenchmen a great number, the chiefe thereof were these that follow:
John of Bourbon, Duke of Anghien, the Viscount of Turenne & eldest son of Roch du Maine, the lord of Chandenier. … There were taken these prisoners following: the Duke of Montmorencie constable of France, hurt with an harquebus shot in the hanch; the Duke of Montpensier hurt in the head; the Duke of Longueville, etc.” (Holinshed, Chron., vol. ii, p. 1133.)
The English forces seem to have arrived too late to take part in the battle, and had to content themselves with the sack of the town. Included in the spoils distributed among the victors were many suits of armour, some of which, including suits belonging to the Constable Montmorency and the Duke of Montpensier, fell to the lot of the Earl of Pembroke, and are now in the Entrance Hall at Wilton.
The French were not long in recovering from this reverse, for in the following year they successfully assaulted Calais, a blow which proved fatal to Queen Mary.
Lord Pembroke was one of those who brought the news of her accession to Lady Elizabeth at Hatfield: he was sworn a member of her Privy Council and established himself at once in herfavour. On 25th April, 1559, “The Queen,” says Strype, “in the afternoon went to Baynard’s Castle, the Earl of Pembroke’s place, and supped with him, and after dinner she took a boat and was rowed up and down the river Thames, hundreds of boats and barges rowing about her, and thousands of people thronging at the water side to look upon her majesty, rejoicing to see her, and partaking of the music and sights in the Thames, for the trumpets blew, drums beat, flutes played, guns were discharged, squibs hurled up into the air as the queen moved from place to place. And this continued till ten of the clock at night, when the queen departed home.”
At this time it was customary for Her Majesty to give and receive presents from her nobility on New Year’s Day. On the 1st January, 1561-2, the Earl of Pembroke offered a purse of black silk and silver knit, with £30 in new angells. In return he received “oone guilte bolle or spice plate with a cover, given to the Queen her Majestie by Mr. John Astley, Master and Treasurer of her Jewels and Plate, 31 oz.; and one guilt cup with a cover 18t oz.” This bowl, presented by Astley, is mentioned as “given to the Earl of Pembroke eodem die.” At the same time the Countess of Pembroke offered “a cherry bag of crymson satten with £ 15 in new angells”; and received from the Queen, “oone guilt cup with a cover 27t oz.” 1)
The Earl, with the Marquis of Northampton, the Earl of Bedford, and Lord John Grey, was intrusted by the Queen to be present at the consultations of those learned men and divines, who met at Sir Thomas Smith’s house in Chanon Rowand settled the reformation of religion, as it is now established. Also in the first year of the new reign he was commissioned with other Privy Councillors to administer the oath of supremacy to all persons, both ecclesiastical and laymen, receiving any fee, etc., within the kingdom of England. 2)
In 1663 the marriage between Lord Herbert and Lady Katherine Talbot was celebrated at Baynard’s Castle; the wedding of Francis Talbot, son and heir of George, sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, with Lady Anne Herbert, taking place at the same time. The double wedding was celebrated by “as great a dinner as had ever been seen, and this was continued for four days, and every night there were great mummeries and masques.” 3)
The Earl’s health, which had been in a precarious state in 1560, 4) now began to fail, and Clough, in a letter to Chaloner, says: “The Earl of Pembroke lies at God’s mercy.” And again, in a letter written by Pembroke to Leicester and Cecil, from Basingstoke, he alludes to his own ill-health. This failure of his physical powers encouraged his rivals to attempt to undermine his influence with the Queen, but he kept clear of Court intrigues until, in 1569, he was drawn into the plot for making a match between Norfolk and the captive Queen of Scots: Norfolk was sent to the Tower, Pembroke was, for a time, under arrest at Windsor, and he was ordered to forbear coming to Court. An examination of the noblemen implicated was undertaken by the remaining members of the Council, the full particulars of which are preserved in the Burghley Papers. Pembroke avowed his desire for the Norfolk marriage, and did not shrink in any way for the responsibility of having advised it. So far as the Lords had acted together, they had done nothing which could be termed disloyal, and Pembroke, both with dignity and success, defended the integrity of his own intentions.
1) Nicholls, Progresses 0/ Queen Elizabetlz, vol. i, p. roB.
3) Machin, Diary.
4) In June, 1560, Lord Robert Dudley writes to the Earl of Essex: “The Erle of Pembroke is at Hendon, and as yet dare not his physicians assure his recovery.”
Later in the year a serious attempt was made at an insurrection in the north of England by the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland, with the intention of releasing the Queen of Scots. This made it necessary to raise a southern force without delay.
At this time Pembroke, as Lord Steward, wrote a letter to the Queen, vindicating his loyalty: “From my poore Howse at Wilton, the 5th December, 1569.” After complaining “how my Name is moast falselye and wickedly abused by the wicked Protestation of these two traiterous Erles,” he goes on to say, “I have according to your Majesties Commandment, in parte answered the Matter by my Letters to my Lords of the Counsill. But in fuller satisfaction thereof, I do reverently before God, and humbly before your Majestie protest, that in all my Lief I was never privey to so muche as a Mocion of any Attempt, either of these banckerupt Erles, or of anie Mans ells, against either Religion (in defence whereof onelye I am redie to spill my blood) or yet your Majesties Estate or Person; and that I am ready against them and all Traitors to make good with my Bodie, when and howsoever it shall please your Majestie to commande: For God forbid that I should lieve the Houre, now in myne olde Age, to staine my former Lief with a Spott of Disloyaltie.” 1)
With graceful confidence the Queen accepted his offer, and named him at once General of an Army of Reserve. The insurrection, however, failed, and Pembroke’s services were not required. This was the last public act of his life. 2)
William, first Earl of Pembroke, died at Hampton Court, on the 17th March, 1570 3) at the age of sixty-three. He was buried, according to his desire, in the cathedral of St. Paul’s, on 18th April, with such magnificence, that as Stow relates, the mourning given at his burial was of the value of £2,000. A magnificent monument was erected to him and his first wife, 4) on the north side of the Chancel above the Choir, a detailed engraving of which is fortunately to be found in Dugdale’s History of St. Paul’s (1658, p. 89), the original having perished in the Fire of London.
So many of the facts relating to this Earl’s life are taken from John Aubrey 5) and William Camden that 6) their records are worth giving in extenso. Aubrey’s account is as follows:
“William Earle of Pembroke (the first Earle of that family) was borne (I think I heard my cos. Whitney say) in … in Monmouthshire. Herbert of Colbrooke in Monmouthshire is of that family. He was (as I take it) a younger brother, a mad fighting young fellow. Tis certaine he was a servant to the house of Worcester, and wore their blew coate and badge. My cos. Whitney’s great aunt gave him a golden angell when he went to London. One time, being at Bristowe, he was arrested, and killed one of the Sheriffs of the city. He made his escape through Back-Street, through the then great Gate, into the Marsh and gott into France. Mem. Upon this action of killing the Sheriffe, the city ordered the gate to be walled up, and only a little postern gate and dore, with a turnstile for a foot-passenger, which continued so till Bristowe was a garrison for the king, and the great gate was then opened in 1644 or 1645. When I was a boy there, living with my father’s mother, the story was as fresh as but of yesterday; he was called black Will Herbert. 7)
” In France he betook himself into the army, where he showed so much courage and readiness of witt in conduct, that in a short time he became eminent, and was favored by … the King, who afterwards recommended him to Henry VIII of England, who much valued him, and heaped favors and honors on him. Upon the dissolution of the abbeys, he gave him the abbey of Wilton, and the country of lands and mann ours thereabout belonging to it. He gave him also the abbey of Ramsbury, in Wilts, with much lands belonging to it; Cardiff Castle in Glamorganshire, with the ancient crowne lands belonging to it. Almost all the country held of this castle. It was built by Sir Robert Fitzhamond the Norman, who lies buried at Tewkesbury Abbey, with a memorial, and he built the abbey of Gloucester. It afterwards came to Jasper, Duke of Bedford, &c., and so to the crowne. He married … Par … sister of Q. Catherine Par. da. and coheir of Par I think Marquisse of Northampton, by whom he had 2 sonnes, Henry Earl of Pembroke and … ancestor of Lord Powys: he was made conservator of King Henry the eighth. He could neither write nor read, but had a stamp for his name. He was of good naturall parts but very cholerique. He was strong sett, but bony, reddish favoured, of a sharp eie, sterne look.
1) Haynes’ State Papers, p. 568.
2) J. E. Nightingale.
3) Authorities differ as to the date of his death.
In the Rawlinson MSS (B 94, p. 93b) we find that the Earl “died on the 18th day of March, anno 1568, at Hampton Court … from whence his body was brought to Baynard’s Castell and from thence with great pompe was honorablie convayed into Paul’s Church, where he lieth richlie intombed.”
In Camden we find under date 1570: “Inter haec (consultatio de scotâ liberandâ) Gulielmus Herbertus Pembrochiae Comes, ex hâc vita anno climacterio demigravit.” – Annaliumn, vol. ii, p.211.
Augustine Vincent makes the following note in his Discoverie of Errours (p. 428) in the first edition of Ralph Brooke’s Catalogue of Nobility: “About his death I find some difference, for this have I observed it that he died at Hampton Court on Friday the 17th March, Ao 11 Eliz. 1569, and was buried in Pauls on Tuesday 18th April, 1570, being not so old by tenne years as Yorke delivers it, if we will either believe Hollinshed (p. 1212) the printed book of the monuments in Pauls, or the inscription itself on his monument now in Pauls, who say that he died in his climactericall year 63.”
4) This tomb was erected by Henry, Earl of Pembroke, leave having been obtained in the following letter from Alexander Nowell to Mr. Shawler, dated 29th July, 1581 :- “Whereas the right honorable the Erle of Pembroke is mynded to sett upp hys fathers Tombe in our Churche beneth the Tombe of John of Gante some tyme Duke of Lancaster, thes are to certify yow, that uppon condition that the vautes and pyllars of our Churche be not hurte or indangered therby and that the breadth of the sayd Tombe doe not exceade the breadth of the late Lord Keepers Tombe, I am well contented & soe I thinke my brethren of the Chapter wyll lykewyse be well pleased that the sayd Tombe may be soe erected there.”- Historical MSS. Commission, Appendix to 9th Report, f. 7 (Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s).
5) John Aubrey was born at Easton Piers in Wiltshire on the 12th March, 1626; he became a gentleman commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, and in 1646 entered the Middle Temple. After losing most of his property through litigation and extravagance, he was empowered by patent in 1671 to make antiquarian surveys under the crown; he formed large topographical collections in Wiltshire and Surrey, and left, in MS., much antiquarian and historical material, including Minutes of Lives, which was used largely by Anthony à Wood. Aubrey died in 1697.
6) William Camden was born in 1551; after being educated at Christ’s Hospital and St. Paul’s School, he went as a servitor to Magdalen College, Oxford, subsequently migrating to Broadgates Hall and Christ Church. In 1593 he was appointed head master of Westminster School, spending his vacations in antiquarian research. His best known work, Britannia, was published in 1586, and three years later he became a prebendary of Salisbury. He died in 1623.
7) “Gwilim Dhu” or Black Will was the name originally given to William Herbert, grandfather of this Earl.
Source: Wilton house pictures; containing a full and complete catalogue and description … by Sidney Herbert Earl of Pembroke. London, Printed at the Chiswick press, 1907.