Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Herbert, Henry (1534?-1601)

HERBERT, HENRY, second Earl of Pembroke (1534?–1601), elder son of William Herbert, first earl (1501?–1570) [q. v.], by his first wife, Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, and sister of Queen Catherine Parr, was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, under Whitgift, and is also said to have studied for a time at Douav. After 1551, when his father became Earl of Pembroke, he was known as Lord Herbert. At Queen Mary's coronation he was made a knight of the Bath (29 Sept. 1553). When in June 1554 his father was entertaining at Wilton Philip of Spain's envoy, the Marquis de las Navas, Herbert's discreet manners attracted the marquis's attention, and he was made gentleman of the chamber to King Philip on his arrival in England. In 1557 he took part in a tournament held before the queen, and subsequently accompanied his father to the siege of St. Quentin. On his father's death in 1570, he succeeded as second earl of Pembroke, and on 4 April 1570 was appointed lord-lieutenant of Wiltshire. In right of his mother he succeeded, as Lord Parre and Ros of Kendal, Fitzhugh, Marmion, and Quentin, on 1 Aug. 1571. In 1574, in order to settle disputes between his tenants and friends in Wales, he and his wife gave a great entertainment at their castle at Cardiff, which he restored at a large cost.

In the court intrigues of Elizabeth's reign Pembroke was regarded as a partisan of Leicester, and was certainly in very intimate relations with him (cf. Cal. Hatfield MSS. ii. 154, iii. 137). He took a prominent part in the trials of the Duke of Norfolk (16 Jan. 1571-2), of Mary Queen of Scots (October 1586), and of Philip Howard, earl of Arnudel (14 April 1589). In 1586 he succeeded Sir Henry Sidney, whose daughter was his third wife, as president of Wales, and became about the same time admiral of South Wales. Thenceforth he spent much time at Ludlow Castle, the official residence of the president of Wales, and actively discharged the duties of his office. His instructions are preserved in Lansd. MS. 49, No. 82 (cf. Hist. of Ludlow, pp. 176,353 sq.) In 1589 he applied without success to Sir Walter Raleigh to secure for him the rangership of the New Forest (Edwards, Life of Ralegh, i. 119; cf. Cal. Hatfield MSS. iii. 365).

In a letter to Lord Burghley (20 June 1590) Pembroke complained that he had spent his fortune in the queen's service, and petitioned for some recompense from her bounty. In 1592 he visited Oxford with the queen, and was created M.A.(Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf.Hist.Soc., ii. i. 235). He was busily engaged in 1595 in fortifying Milford Haven (Sydney Papers, i. 355-6), and was at the same time quarrelling with Essex about some land which both claimed (ib. pp. 370 sq.) In 1599, when a Spanish invasion was anticipated, he offered to raise two hundred horsemen (Chamberlain, Letters, Camd. Soc., p. 62). In 1595 Pembroke was described as very ‘pursife and maladise’ (Sydney Papers, i. 372), and in September 1599 his life was despaired of. He died at Wilton 9 Jan. 1600-1, ‘leaving his lady as bare as he could,’ writes Chamberlain, and bestowing all on the young lord, even to her jewels. He was buried in Salisbury Cathedral.

Pembroke,like other members of his family, was a man of culture. According to Aubrey he was a special patron of antiquaries and heralds, and collected heraldic manuscripts. He was always friendly with his third wife's brother, Sir Philip Sidney, who left him by will a diamond ring in 1586. John Davies of Hereford recounted the many services which the earl had rendered him in ‘A Dump upon the Death of the most noble Henrie, late Earl of Pembroke’ (cf. Davies, Wittes Pilgrimage,n.d.) Arthur Massinger, father of the dramatist, Philip Massinger, was the earl's confidential servant, and a company of players was known as the Earl of Pembroke's men between 1589 and the date of the earl's death. He also took some interest in horse-racing, ‘instituted the Salisbury race,’ and gave money to the corporation of Salisbury to provide a gold bell as a prize (Aubrey, Nat. Hist. Wilts, ed. Britton, p. 117). He ‘won the bell at the race in Salisbury’ early in 1600 (Sydney Papers, ii. 179). According to Aubrey he largely occupied himself in building at Wilton.

Pembroke's first wife was Lady Catherine, daughter of Henry Grey, duke of Suffolk [q. v.], and sister of Lady Jane Grey. The marriage took place on Whitsunday, 21 May 1553, at Durham House, the London residence of John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, and was designed to assist Northumberland in his endeavour to secure the succession to the crown to Lady Jane Grey, who married his son Guildford on the same day. The union was never consummated, and in 1554 Queen Mary's influence led the bridegroom's father to consent to a dissolution of the marriage. On 17 Feb. 1562-3 Herbert married Catherine, daughter of George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury. She died childless in 1575. Queen Elizabeth was much attached to her, and during her fatal illness twice visited her at Baynard's Castle (cf. Nichols, Progresses, i. 416). Pembroke's third wife, whom he married about April 1577, was the well-known Mary [see Herbert, Mary], daughter of Sir Henry Sidney, and sister of Sir Philip Sidney, by whom he was father of William, third earl of Pembroke [q. v.], Philip, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery [q. v.], and Anne, who died young.

A portrait of Pembroke is in Holland's ‘Herωologia.’ Fifteen letters from Pembroke to Sir Edward Stradling appear in the ‘Stradling Correspondence.’

[Doyle's Oflicial Baromgc; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 294; Cal. Hatfield MSS. ii. 522, 536; Sydney Papers, ed. Collins, vols. i. ii.; Dugdale's Baronage; Fox Bourne's Sir Philip Sidney; Aubrey's Natural Hist. of Wiltshire, ed. Britton, 1842.]

S. L. L.