Sir George Herbert, Kt., MP

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George Herbert, Kt., MP

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: Gwyr Island, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales
Death: Died in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Richard Herbert of Ewyas and Margaret Cradock
Husband of Margaret Herbert; Elizabeth Herbert and Grace Brewring
Father of Cecily Morgan; Catherine Vaughan; Mathew Herbert; William Herbert, MP; John Herbert and 1 other
Brother of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke; sir Thomas Herbert; Margaret Herbert and Mr. Herbert
Half brother of Thomas Herbert; Alice Herbert and William Herbert

Managed by: Private User
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About Sir George Herbert, Kt., MP

Family and Education

  • b. 1494/95, 1st son of Richard Herbert of Ewyas, Herefordshire by Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Matthew Cradock of Swansea; brother of William Herbert I.
  • married (1) by 1531, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas Berkeley of The Vyne, Hampshire, 3 sons including William Herbert V, 3 daughters;
  • married (2) Grace Bewring, widow of Geoffrey Newton.
  • Succeeded father 1510.
  • Knighted 12 Mar./18 Apr. 1543.[1]

Offices Held

  • Steward,
    • lordships of Abergavenny, Monmouthshire by Jan. 1516,
    • of Gower and Kilvey, Glamorgan 1526-d.,
    • of Gelligaer, Glamorgan c.1540,
    • of Swansea by 1549-?60,
    • of Neath abbey, Glamorgan 1533,
    • cts. of Abergavenny priory in 1535;
  • receiver, Glamorgan June 1524;
  • esquire of the body by 1533;
  • Commissioner
    • tenths of spiritualities, diocese of Llandaff 1535,
    • coastal defence, South Wales 1539,
    • benevolence, Glamorgan 1544/45,
    • relief 1549, 1550,
    • goods of churches and fraternities 1553;
  • ?receiver, estates of the earls of Worcester, S. Wales by 1538-54 or later;
  • sheriff, Glamorgan 1540-1, 1552-3;
  • Justice of the Peace for Glamorgan 1543-55 or later, other Welsh counties early 1550s, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Salop, Worcestershire 1554, q. Glamorgan by 1561-?d.;
  • custos rot. Glamorgan 1543,
  • dep. c.1547;
  • gentleman waiter, household of Queen Catherine Parr by 1544-8;
  • receiver, ct. augmentations, Glamorgan in 1545;
  • Vice-admiral of South Wales 1550-8;
  • member, council in the marches of Wales in 1551-3 or later;
  • mayor, Cardiff in 1553.[2]


George Herbert’s career was patterned on, although it did not rival, that of his younger brother William, 1st Earl of Pembroke. Until about 1540 he made his way in South Wales under the aegis of his kinsmen the 5th Lord Bergavenny and the 1st and 2nd Earls of Worcester, but his position was transformed by his brother’s ascendancy at court and the King’s marriage to William Herbert’s sister-in-law Catherine Parr. The marriage took place after the close of the second session of the Parliament of 1542, to which George Herbert had been returned for Glamorgan: he had the double distinction of being the first sheriff of the shire which he had helped to set up at the Union and its first knight in Parliament.

After the dissolution he and his brother fought in the Boulogne campaign. He could have been re-elected to the Parliaments of 1545 and 1555 for which the name of the knight of the shire is lost, and he was perhaps John Bassett II’s replacement in the Parliament of 1547. While sheriff in 1553 he returned his kinsmen George Mathew and Anthony Mansell to Parliament, and in 1558 and 1559 he presumably encouraged his son William’s and his grandson William’s election.[3]

Established at Swansea, where he built his mansion Plas Newydd, Herbert added to his Glamorganshire lands by buying from the 9th Lord Clinton the ex-monastic manor of Llandough in 1543, from the crown the manor of Cogan in 1544, and from or through James Gunter those of Cardiff and Roath and the former Franciscan convent at Cardiff. For his part in suppressing the western rebellion of 1549 the crown quitclaimed all title to property leased by him from St. David’s hospital in Swansea. He strengthened his title to his burgeoning estate by recourse to law and was himself sometimes accused of wrongful dispossession and withholding rent.[4]

Herbert’s relations with his neighbours, kinsmen and colleagues on the bench in Glamorgan were not always happy. He was accused in the Star Chamber by two of the sons of Sir Edward Carne of assaulting them at Cowbridge in 1538 and conspiring with Sir Rhys Mansell, with what outcome is unknown. Rivalry between him and Mansell intensified after Mansell’s appointment as chamberlain of South Wales, a post which Herbert had coveted while a member of the council in the marches. In 1555 an information was laid in the Exchequer by Mansell or a client about the size of Herbert’s following, with the result that he was ordered to limit it to 40 men, a figure for which he received a licence.

Matters came to a head in December 1557 after the wreck of a French vessel near Oxwich. Mansell arrested the survivors and took the cargo for himself, while Herbert claimed the prisoners for the Admiralty and the freight for Worcester; in the ensuing contest Mansell’s sister was accidentally killed. The Star Chamber decreed in Mansell’s favour in May 1558 and ordered Herbert’s committal to the Fleet pending trial for manslaughter, but whether he was found guilty is not recorded. An attempt by the Council to reconcile the pair failed, and local intervention met with no success before Mansell’s death in 1559. Herbert sued out a general pardon from Elizabeth and after being left off her first commission of the peace he was restored to the bench in 1561 and was one of the quorum until his death, apparently intestate, on 2 Sept. 1570.

Following the disclosure that he owed the crown £1,200, almost certainly money collected by his son Matthew as receiver for South Wales and not delivered to the augmentations before Matthew’s death, his goods were distrained but within two years his heir and grandson William was able to enter upon an estate free from debt. Grace Bewring survived him but in later legal proceedings the heir alleged that Herbert had never lawfully been married to her.[5]

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from parents’ marriage and first reference. Stowe 692, f. 55; Harl. 806, ff. 40-41; G. T. Clark, Limbus Patrum Morganiae, 286; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 8; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 56-57; W. R. B. Robinson, ‘Sir George Herbert’, Bull. Bd. of Celtic Studies, xxvii. 303-9; xxviii. 305-6.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, viii. x, xii, xiv, xx; Val. Eccles. iv. 351, 355; NRA 12101, pt. vi. 18; Penrice and Margam ms 561; C1/1094/77; 193/12/1; E179/221/236, 257, 259; 315/340/52; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, ii(2), 162; Cardiff Recs. ed. Mathews, v. 513; St.Ch.4/1/26; CPR, 1553, pp. 364, 419; 1553-4, pp. 19-20, 23, 25; 1560-3, p. 445; 1563-6, p. 29. Soc. Antiq. (1790), p. 167; Stowe 571, ff. 6-7v.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xix.
  • 4. Ibid. xviii-xxi; CPR, 1540-51, p. 211; C1/793/30, 1172/1-2.
  • 5. St.Ch.2/8/139-49, 20/160, 24/365; 4/1/26; E159/334, Easter 54; 178/3437; G. Williams, ‘The affray at Oxwich castle’, Gower, ii. 6-11; APC, vi. 236, 251-4, 273; Davies, Gower, iv. 191-5, 282, 427; Cardiff Recs. ii. 445; HMC Welsh, ii(1) R. Flenelye, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 74; CPR, 1558-60, p. 236; 1569-72, p. 488; C142/160/1
  • From:
  • ___________________________
  • George HERBERT of Swansey (Sir)
  • Born: 1494, Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales
  • Died: 2 Sep 1570
  • Notes: See his Biography. -
  • Father: Richard HERBERT (Sir)
  • Mother: Margaret CRADOCK
  • Married: Elizabeth BERKELEY BEF 1531
  • Children:
    • 1. William HERBERT of Cogan Pill
    • 2. John HERBERT
    • 3. Matthew HERBERT
    • 4. Catherine HERBERT
    • 5. Cecilia HERBERT
    • 6. Margaret HERBERT
    • ¿7. Richard HERBERT of Ewyas?
  • Associated with: Grace BEWRING (w. of Geoffrey Newton)
  • From: HERBERT of Swansey (Sir)
  • ____________________
  • Sir George Herbert1,2
  • M, #75015, b. circa 1506, d. 1570
  • Father Richard Herbert, Gentleman Usher to Henry VII b. c 1442, d. 12 Sep 1510
  • Mother Margred Cradock b. c 1490
  • Sir George Herbert was born circa 1506 at of Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales. He married Elizabeth Berkeley, daughter of Sir Thomas Berkeley and Elizabeth Neville, circa 1522.1,2 Sir George Herbert died in 1570.
  • Family Elizabeth Berkeley b. c 1498
  • Children
    • William Herbert, Esq., Sheriff of Glamorganshire1,2 d. 1576
    • Mathew Herbert+ b. c 1525
  • Citations
  • 1.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 74.
  • 2.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 198.
  • From:
  • ________________________
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Sir George Herbert, Kt., MP's Timeline

Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales
Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales
Age 30
Gwyr is Coed, Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales
Age 30
Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales
Age 35
Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales
Age 37
Swansea , Gwyr Is Coed, Glamorganshire, Wales, England
Age 40
Swansea , Gwyr Is Coed, Glamorganshire, Wales, England
September 2, 1570
Age 75
Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales