Family of Queen Katherine: Sir Edward Herbert of Powis

Pembroke family of Wilton. Wilton Church.

Pembroke family of Wilton. Wilton Church. Left panel shows the 1st Earl of Pembroke with his two sons, Henry (future 2nd Earl of Pembroke) and Sir Edward of Powis.

Sir Edward Herbert of Powis Castle (Jun 1544-23 March 1595) was the second child and son of Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (10th creation) and his first wife, Lady Anne (Parr). His siblings were Lord Henry Herbert (later 2nd Earl of Pembroke) and Lady Anne Talbot, wife of Lord Francis Talbot. Through his mother, Herbert was a nephew to Queen Katherine Parr and the 1st Marquess of Northampton, William Parr. Upon the death of his aunt, Queen Katherine, his mother became the sole heiress to her brother the Marquess of Northampton.

Arms of Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (10th creation)

Arms of Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (10th creation) [2]

Herbert was a member of the Herbert family, a Welsh noble family who descended from Sir William ap Thomas of Raglan Castle. His father, Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke of the second creation (within the Herbert family) was the grandson of the first creation also named William (1423-1469). From birth, Edward Herbert had the backing of his family’s powerful clan. It also didn’t hurt that his father, the Earl of Pembroke, would become a large influence at court. Due to his mother’s affiliation to Henry VIII’s last queen, Katherine Parr, Herbert’s father owed some of his advancement to Edward’s mother — Anne. Lady Pembroke (at the time Lady Anne Herbert) was sister to Queen Katherine, the last queen consort to King Henry VIII. In the reign of Henry VIII’s children, especially Edward VI, Pembroke became a guardian to the young king and was part of the court circle of men around the boy. Pembroke tried to advance his standing by marrying his son to a granddaughter of Princess Mary Tudor (Henry VIII’s younger sister and designated heirs to the throne after his immediate children), Lady Katherine Grey. The marriage was to bring the family close to the crown upon the attempt to put Grey’s sister, Lady Jane, on the throne as Queen. When Lady Jane was “deposed,” Pembroke tried to distant himself from the “traitors” which included his brother-in-law, Northampton. Pembroke had the marriage between his son and Lady Katherine annulled and tried to gain favour with the Catholic queen Mary Tudor. The plan worked and his family was spared. Pembroke would also contribute heavily to the reign of Elizabeth I.

Lord Pembroke’s marriage to the queen’s sister advanced the family and Anne gave legitimacy to the Herbert family. Lady Pembroke’s descendants also had the luxury of becoming the heirs of the Parr inheritance once Lady Pembroke’s brother, William, 1st Marquess of Northampton died in 1571 without issue. Although the title of Marquess of Northampton and Earl of Essex were forfeit, the children inherited other “titles”, manors, lands, etc.

HANWORTH, a village and a parish in Staines district, Middlesex. Ordnance Survey First Series, Sheet 8.

HANWORTH, a village and a parish in Staines district, Middlesex. Ordnance Survey First Series, Sheet 8.

In June 1544, the Queen lent her sister Lady Herbert her manor, Hanworth for the lying-in for her second child. It was there that Anne Herbert gave birth to her second son, Edward (his elder brother was named Henry, was this a coincidence?). The Queen sent regular messengers to Hanworth to inquire on the health of her sister. For the christening, the queen provided a large delegation (five yeo-men, two grooms, and Henry Webbe) from her household to attend. Letters continued well into July between the two sisters while Lady Herbert remained at Hanworth. After the birth, Lady Herbert visited Lady Hertford (Anne Stanhope), who had also just given birth, at Syon House near Richmond.[1]

In August 1544, the queen paid for a barge to bring her sister Lady Herbert by river from Syon House (home to the Hertford’s) to Westminster. The queen’s involvement in the birth and christening of her nephew would eventually lead her to take him in as part of her household after the death of King Henry.[1]

After King Henry VIII’s death in January 1547, when the queen dowager’s household was at Chelsea, both Lady Herbert and her son Edward were part of the household there. The Dowager queen, as always, was keen to have her family close to her. After having no children of her own by her previous three husbands and no role in the new government, the queen probably didn’t mind having her toddler nephew around. While Lady Herbert attended her sister, her husband Lord Herbert was appointed as one of the guardians to the new king, Edward VI. Lord Herbert became part of the circle around the new king which included his brother-in-law, the Marquess of Northampton.[1]

Hendon Church, Middlesex. London, England; June 1, 1815 (published). John Preston Neale, born 1766 - died 1847 (artist); Bonner, Thomas, born 1735 - died 1816 (engraver) Engraving. Given by Dr. G. B. Gardner. V&A Online Collections.

Hendon Church, Middlesex. London, England; June 1, 1815 (published). John Preston Neale, born 1766 – died 1847 (artist); Bonner, Thomas, born 1735 – died 1816 (engraver) Engraving. Given by Dr. G. B. Gardner. V&A Online Collections.

At the age of his majority, Herbert returned for the family borough and never sat for Parliament again. On the death of his father in 1569, Herbert inherited the manor of Hendon, Middlesex. He also inherited his mother’s lands in Northampton and Westmorland (the Parr inheritance).


Probably the most important event in his life was the purchase of Powis Castle in Wales (at the time it was called “Poole Castell”).[2] Sir Edward Herbert bought the lordship and castle in 1587 from Edward Grey, a feudal Lord of Powis.[3] Edward Grey was the illegitimate child of the last Lord Powis and Jane Orwell; therefore his father’s estates, which he inherited, came with limitations within Lord Powis’s will.[4] One of those limitations was the obvious title, Baron Powis, which would be bestowed on Herbert’s son, William Herbert, in the reign of James I. The castle Sir Edward took over was probably in serious need of repair and modernisation, and he undertook extensive work between 1587 and 1595, of which only the long gallery survives (completed in 1593).[5]

Herbert’s interests were mostly in Montgomeryshire and he had little to do with public life (most likely by choice). He was knighted in 1574. In 1590, his brother the 2nd Earl of Pembroke put him forward for a membership in the council of the marches. Herbert appears to have been of the Catholic faith and that may also explain his non-involvement in Parliament and at the court of Elizabeth I. Herbert’s wife however was Catholic and it was most likely to her influence that he converted. Lord and Lady Herbert’s names appeared on a list of Catholics drawn up between 1574 and 1577; his wife’s name would appear again in 1582. In 1580, Henry Sydney (brother to his sister-in-law Lady Pembroke), was to arrest recusants and did institute proceedings against them in Montgomeryshire. The Herbert’s were left to be until June 1594 when Lady Herbert and her five children, all under age, were presented for recusancy, not having attended Church services (Protestant) at the parish church in Welshpool for twelve months.

Women were very important to the recusant cause in Wales, as in England. Often a wife stayed at home while her husband kept up appearances by attending Anglican services. Some people outwardly conformed to avoid stiff fines, but secretly remained Catholics.

In 1581, it was made treason to convert to Catholicism, or try to convert someone else to it; further measures followed, and the penalty for being caught was often death. But some Catholics risked their lives all the same. The Jesuit order provided many missionary priests, some raised in Wales but trained on the continent. It was a perilous life, and some Welsh homes still have priest holes, where these men hid from the authorities. A number of Welsh Catholics (mostly priests) were executed in the 16th and 17th centuries.[6]

In 1570, Herbert married Mary Stanley, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Stanley of Standon, Herts. and London. They had four sons and eight daughters.[7] Their children included the eldest son and heir Sir William Herbert, 1st Baron Powis; George, who died unmarried; Sir John Herbert, Knt, who died without issue; Edward, who died a bachelor; Elizabeth died young; Joyce; Frances; Jane; Mary; Winifred; and two more daughters named Anne and Katherine (most likely named after Herbert’s mother and aunt, the queen).[8][9]

Herbert died on 23 March 1595 and was buried in Welshpool Church, Montgomeryshire, where a monument is erected in his memory on the North side of the Chancel. The Herbert memorial consists of two figures in black marble kneeling. In the middle is an inscription in letters of gold, in roman capitols.[9]

Here lyeth the Bodyes of the Right Worshipful Sir Edward Herbert, Knight, second Son to the Right Honourable Sir William Herbert, Knt. Earl of Pembroke, Lord Cardiffe and Knight of the most Noble Order of the Garter, and of Anne his Wife, Sister and sole Heire to Sir William Parr, Kt. Lord Parr of Kirbeby, Kendall, Marmion, FitzHugh, St. Quintin, Earl of Essex, Marquis of Northampton, and Knt. of the most Noble Order of the Garter. Which Sir Edward Herbert married Mary Daughter and sole Heire to Thomas Stanley of Standen, in the County of Hertford, Esq; Master of the Mint, A.D. 1570, youngest Son of Thomas Stanley of Dalgarthe, in the County of Cumberland, Esq. Which Sir Edward Herbert and Dame Mary his Wife had Issue iv Sonnes and viii Daughters, viz.

William Herbert, Esq; his eldest Sonne and Heire, who married Lady Eleanor, second Daughter to Henry late Earl of Northumberland, George Herbert, 2d Son, John Herbert, 3d Son, and Edward Herbert, 4th Son : Elizabeth, first Daughter died young, Anne 2d Daughter, Joyce 3d Daughter, Frances 4th Daughter, Katharine 5th Daughter, Jane 6, Mary 7, and Winifred 8th Daughter. Which Sir Edward died 23 Day of March DMDLXXXXIV and this Monument was made at the Charge of the sayd Lady Herbert 23 October 1595.[9]

Letters of administration were issued to his widow in April 1595.[7]

Books of Hours belonging to Lady Eleanor Powis, wife to Sir William, 1st Baron Powis.  Lady Eleanor used her Book of Hours to remind her of important anniversaries writing these dates against the Feast Days of the Catholic Calendar at the front of her book. She includes the birthdays of herself, her husband William, and her children. © National Trust Collections

Books of Hours belonging to Lady Eleanor Powis, wife to Sir William, 1st Baron Powis. Lady Eleanor used her Book of Hours to remind her of important anniversaries writing these dates against the Feast Days of the Catholic Calendar at the front of her book. She includes the birthdays of herself, her husband William, and her children. © National Trust Collections


  1. Susan James. “Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love,” The History Press, US Edition: 2009. pg 275-76.
  2. European Heraldry. “House of Herbert
  3. George Edward Cokayne. Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, Or Dormant , Volume 6. G. Bell & sons, 1895. pg 295.
  4. A letter dated 8 October 1590 from Sir Edward Herbert at “The Poole Castell.” Kynaston Peerage Papers No 148.
  5. Hugh Montgomery-Mass, Christopher Simon Sykes. “Great Houses of England & Wales,” Laurence King Publishing, 1994. pg 44-45. Google eBook.
  6. Katharine Olson. “A New History of Wales: Katharine Olson debates Reformation in Wales – a hidden history?,” Wales Online, 24 September 2010. URL:
  7. “The History of Parliament: the House of Commons” 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981. HERBERT, Edward II (c.1542-95), of Wilton, Wilts.; later of Powis Castle, Mont.
  8. Edward Thornton Evans. “The History and Topography of the Parish of Hendon, Middlesex,” Simpkin, 1890 – Hendon (London, England). pg 37.
  9. Arthur Collins. “The Peerage of England,” Volume 1, 1735. pg 506. Google eBook.

Family of Queen Katherine: DEATH of William, 1st Earl of Pembroke

Pembroke family of Wilton. Wilton Church. Pembroke family of Wilton. Wilton Church.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, husband of Anne Parr, and thus sister-in-law to Queen Katherine. Lord Pembroke died on 17 March 1570 at Hampton Court Palace. William was eldest son of Sir Richard Herbert of Ewyas, Herefordshire, by his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir Matthew Cradock of Swansea. Pembroke’s father, Sir Richard, was an illegitimate son of the original William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke of the first creation (d. 1469), by a mistress, Maud, daughter of Adam ap Howell Graunt. He married firstly to Anne Parr in 1538 and after her death, Lady Anne Talbot, daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Parr gave Pembroke an heir (the 2nd Earl), an heir to spare (ancestor to the Earls of Powis), and a daughter (no issue). Talbot had no issue by Pembroke.

Hampton Court Palace, London, England. Hampton Court Palace, London, England.

On the eve of 17 March 1570, Pembroke took to his bed in his quarters at Hampton Court Palace. He was joined by his younger son, Sir Edward Herbert and the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley.

Pembroke had written his will back on 28 December 1569. Pembroke’s executors/witnesses of his will were his heir Henry Herbert (later 2nd Earl of Pembroke was the sole executor), the Earl of Leicester (Robert Dudley); Sir Walter Milday; Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (cousin to his first wife); Gilbert Gerrard. To those men he bequethed £50 to be delivered either in money, plate of jewels, within one month. And by codicil it is mentioned that Pembroke declared to Leicester and his son, Sir Edward Herbert, that on the night before his death, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, Sir James Crofts, and Mr. Secretary Cecil be joined in the oversee and receive the same gifts. To his wife, (Anne Talbot) he left her, her own clothes and jewels, which would otherwise go to his son Henry, Lord Herbert and his wife. Lady Pembroke was to be looked after and to be allowed to stay at Baynard’s Castle where Pembroke’s previous wife had died in 1552. Pembroke’s second son, Edward, was given a plate with the value of 500 marks. Pembroke’s daughter, Anne, Lady Talbot, was to receive £500. To his brother-in-law, the Marquess of Northampton (William Parr), he left his second-best gold sword. Leicester received Pembroke’s best gold sword. Pembroke also wanted £200 bestowed upon the poor near Baynard castleward in London, Salisbury in Wiltshire, and Hendon. To the Queen (Elizabeth), he left his “newest fairest and richest bed” and his greatest jewel called the “Great Ballace.” Most importantly, the ordinary men (his servants, etc) were to be looked after by his heir, Henry.

That my lorde Herbert do consider Thomas Gregorie and Tidie with money for their travaile and paines beside that he hath bequethed to them in annuity that he speciallie do appointe to Francis Zouche and Charles Arundell fit and good annuities for them. That he have special care of Henrie Morgan, George Morgan, Phillip Williams, Robert Vaughan, and Thomas Scudamore and either entertaigne them into his service payinge them their wages beforehand or else appoint them sufficient annuities. That he do entertaigne his household and keep them together

Philip Williams had been Pembroke’s secretary; Robert Vaughan, his treasurer; Thomas Scudamore was one of the men who carried his coffin.

Leicester then left Pembroke’s bedside, leaving Pembroke with his son and physicians. Pembroke died the next morning, 17 March 1570 at the age of sixty-three.

In his will, Pembroke listed two possible burial places; Old Saint Paul’s or Canterbury Cathedral. If he died near London, his wishes were to be buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral next to his first wife, Anne Parr. Pembroke obviously loved his wife for when he wrote his will, despite being married again, he wanted nothing more than to be buried “near the place where Anne my late wife doth lie buried” in St. Paul’s. He was buried in April.

Shortly after his death, the Dowager Lady Pembroke received a letter from the Queen in the hand of Cecil, but heavily corrected (most likely by Elizabeth). The Queen expressed her condolences of the loss of “our late cousin.”

See also: “Funeral of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke


  • Adam Nicolson. “Quarrel with the King: The story of an English family on the high road to Civil War,” HarperCollins, Oct 6, 2009.
  • Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, Devizes : Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, 1879. pg 126-28.