HERLE, John (by 1519-70/89), of Stanton Harcourt and Northmoor, Oxon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1519, 1st s. of Thomas Herle of Stanton Harcourt, Oxon. and Aberystwyth, Card. by Jane, da. of William Perrot of Scotsborough, Pemb. m. Catherine, da. of Sir John Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt, at least 2s. suc. fa. Mar. 1521.1

Offices Held

Servant of Princess Mary in 1550; equerry to Queen Mary 1553-8; constable of Conway castle, Caern. and ex officio mayor, Conway Oct. 1553-July 1570;steward, lands formerly of Bardsey abbey, Caern. Oct. 1553.2


The extant pedigree of the Herle family of Oxfordshire begins three generations back from this Member with a William Herle of Hertfordshire, whose son, John, is described as of Breconshire, and grandson, Thomas, the Member’s father, as of Aberystwyth. That the Herles had connexions with Wales is clear, for both the Member’s grandfather and father took Welsh wives, but there is no evidence of their having held land there.3

The Member’s father Thomas Herle, a younger son, succeeded to the family lands on the death of his elder brother George, suing out his livery in May 1514. He died in 1521 and a year later the wardship of his heir was bought by one Sir William Thomas who was perhaps to be responsible for Herle’s introduction to the court. When John Herle achieved his majority and sued out livery of his inheritance in May 1541, he owned lands in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Herefordshire worth £35 a year.4

John Herle became a royal servant, first in some unknown capacity to Henry VIII, but by Edward VI’s reign in the service of the Princess Mary, being so described in June 1550 when he received a grant of the manor of Sutton Courtenay in Berkshire. He continued in her service when she became Queen, as an equerry in the royal stables. Despite his family’s Welsh associations, he first became connected with Wales shortly after Mary’s accession, when he was appointed constable of Conway castle and steward of the former lands of Bardsey abbey.5

Herle’s parliamentary career was confined to two Parliaments, in both of which he sat for boroughs controlled by the crown. There can be little doubt that Herle toed the official line in Parliament (his name does not appear on the list of those opposing a government bill in 1555) and his first experience in the Commons was followed, in return for his service to the crown and for the surrender of an annuity of £20, by a grant of the lordship and manor of Northmoor, which he seems later to have made his main residence, and the manor of Hardwick and other lands in Oxfordshire. In June 1558 Herle had a further grant of some houses (which he had spent money on rebuilding) and lands in Combe, Oxfordshire.6

Little is known of Herle’s life under Elizabeth, but in December 1569 he and his wife Catherine were licensed to alienate lands in Hardwick and elsewhere in Oxfordshire, and in July 1570 he assigned the constableship of Conway castle (and thus the mayoralty of Conway) to William Gibbons, citizen and salter of London, for a monetary payment. Herle died intestate, letters of administration being granted in 1589.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m. Wards 9/129/14v; C142/37/79, 107-8. Vis. Oxon (Harl. Soc. v), 231.
  • 2. CPR, 1553-4, p. 327; 1554-5, p. 313; 1555-7, p. 462; 1557-8, p. 108; E. Breese, Kalendars of Gwynedd, 130n.
  • 3. Vis. Oxon. 231.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, i-iii, xvi; C142/37/79, 107-8; Wards 9/129/14d.
  • 5. CPR, 1553-4, p. 327; 1555-7, p. 422; Cal. Caern. Q. Sess. Recs. ed. Williams, 132, 136, 140, 150, 155-6, 158, 163, 170, 176.
  • 6. C219/24/87; CPR, 1554-5, p. 313; 1557-8, p. 108.
  • 7. CPR, 1569-72, p. 137; Breese, 130n.; C2/Eliz. H11/53; PCC Admins. ed. Ridge, iii. 79.