HERBERT, Henry (1654-1709), of Ribbesford, nr. Bewdley, Worcs. and Leicester Square, Westminster.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



10 Mar. 1677
1690 - 28 Apr. 1694

Family and Education

b. 24 July 1654, o. surv. s. of Sir. Henry Herbert, being o.s. by 2nd w. educ. Trinity, Oxf. 1670; I. Temple 1671; L. Inn 1672. m. 12 Feb. 1678 (with £8,000), Anne (d. 24 Apr. 1716), da. and coh. of John Ramsey, Dyer, of London, 1s. suc. fa. 1673; cr. Baron Herbert of Chirbury 28 Apr. 1694.

Offices Held

Freeman, Bewdley 1670; commr. for assessment, Westminster, Salop, Worcs. and Mont. 1677-80, Bucks. 1679-80, Bucks., Salop, Worcs. and Worcester 1689-90; j.p. Worcs. 1677-80, 1689-d., Rad. 1699-?d., custos rot. Brec. 1695-1702; capt. of militia horse, Worcs. by 1697-?d.1

Ld. of trade 1707-d.


Though still under age, Herbert stood for Bewdley in 1673 in accordance with his father’s deathbed wishes, but he was opposed by Thomas Foley I, and it was not until 1677 that the House upheld his petition. On the working lists he was among those ‘to be fixed’. Danby hastened to complete payment of the £1,448 which was owed to his father, and (Sir) Joseph Williamson, who described him as ‘a sober, discreet young man’, helped to arrange a rich City marriage for him. But Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly worthy’, and his sympathies clearly lay with the Opposition, though he was not active in the Cavalier Parliament. He was probably appointed to six committees, including three of major political importance in the earlier sessions of 1678; those to examine the growth of Popery, to summarize England’s commitments to her allies, and to draft an address for the removal of counsellors. He may also have acted as teller for the first paragraph of the draft address for the removal of Lauderdale of 8 May. He did not attend the final session, much to the regret of his cousin, the Hon. Henry Herbert.2

At the first general election of 1679 Herbert again stood for Bewdley against the Foley interest; but he was defeated and his petition was rejected by the House. For the second election of 1679 Philip Foley hoped to persuade him to stand for Bishop’s Castle. Soon afterwards he was removed from the commission of the peace. In 1681 a seat was found for him at Worcester by the country party; but he left no traces on the records of the Oxford Parliament. He was on the Middlesex grand jury which in May found a true bill against Danby on Fitzharris’s charge of complicity in the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey.3

Although Herbert was included in Danby’s list of the Worcestershire opponents of James II, he was ‘supposed right’ as a candidate for Worcester by the King’s electoral agents in September 1688. This is particularly surprising as he seems to have been in Holland, returning to England with the Prince of Orange in November. At the meeting of Members of Charles II’s Parliaments he helped to draw up the address to the Prince and to ask him when it should be presented. At the general election of 1689 he regained his old seat at Bewdley unopposed. An active Member of the Convention, he was appointed by full name to 26 committees. He may have served on a dozen more, and acted as teller in eight divisions. He was among those instructed to inquire into the authors and advisers of grievances, to consider new oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and to inquire into the delay in relieving Londonderry. His only recorded speech was on the quarrel between William Harbord and Henry Bertie. He took the chair in the committee to draw up the address about the danger from France and Ireland, and made two reports, one requesting the appointment of a constable of Dover Castle, and the other inquiring about the strength of the Dutch navy. On 27 July he was sent to the House of Lords to desire a conference about Titus Oates. In the second session he was appointed to the committees to inspect expenditure on the war, to consider the mutiny bill and to examine the state of the revenue. He helped to prepare the addresses about the employment of Commissary Shales and making provision for Princess Anne. He supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, but acted as teller against extending it to James II’s regulators. He was probably also teller for the expulsion of (Sir) Robert Sawyer on 20 Jan. 1690.4

Herbert was re-elected for Bewdley in 1690, but raised to the peerage four years later. He remained a court Whig under William III, but did not achieve office till 1707. He died of a fever on 22 Jan. 1709, and was buried at St. Paul’s, Covent Garden. His son and successor had been elected for Bewdley in the previous year.

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Edward Rowlands


Survey of London, xxxiv. 490.

  • 1. Univ. Birmingham Hist. Jnl. i. 105; Eg. 1626, f. 52.
  • 2. Epistolary Curiosities of Herbert Fam. ed. Warner (1818), i. 100, 147; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 804; v. 726; CSP Dom.1677-8, p. 410.
  • 3. CJ, ix. 568, 634, 638; Add. 29910, f. 141; Eg. 2543, f. 251; Add. 28047, f. 285.
  • 4. CJ, x. 186, 198, 296, 312, 323; Grey, ix. 236.