HERBERT, Edward I (c.1513-93), of Montgomery Castle and Blackhall, Mont.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. c.1513, 4th s. of Sir Richard Herbert (d.1539) of Montgomery Castle, being 1st s. by his 2nd w. Anne, da. of David ap Ifan ap Llywelyn Fychan of Trefeglwys; bro. of John and half-bro. of William Herbert m. Elizabeth (d.1588), da. of Matthew Price of Newtown, Mont., 4s. inc. Richard Herbert I and Matthew II, at least 3s. illegit. inc. Richard Herbert II 7da.1

Offices Held

Dep. constable Aberystwyth castle, Card. 16 Mar. 1544, jt. coll. of crown revenues Mont. c.1544, high steward and constable of Montgomery castle 1548-c.89, sheriff 1551-2, 1556-7, 1567-8; j.p. by 1553, q. by 1559, custos rot. from 1559; steward of lordship of Powis 1553-89; j.p. Mer., Staffs. from c.1559, Brec. 1564; keeper of Holt castle, Denb. 1570; bailiff, Montgomery 1574, 1582; jt. commr. subsidy Mont. 1585; esquire of the body to Queen Elizabeth.2


Herbert’s father settled at Montgomery early in Henry VIII’s reign, becoming, as agent to the 1st Earl of Worcester and steward of the crown lordships of Montgomery, Kerry and Kedewain, Arwystli and Cyfeiliog, the chief pillar of the Tudor settlement of Powis. By prudent marriages into the chief local families, he left his descendants in a dominant position in Montgomeryshire.3

Herbert attached himself to his second cousin, the 1st Earl of Pembroke of the and creation, who succeeded to the Earl of Worcester’s influence in mid-Wales. He served Pembroke against the Western rebels in 1548 and against the French at St. Quentin in 1557. He is said to have made a fortune during the French campaign, swelling the revenues inherited from his father and those of the hundred of Chirbury granted by Pembroke in 1553. Under Elizabeth, he received the lordship of Bromfield and Yale, part of the confiscated estates of Sir William Stanley.4

From the time of his father’s death until the rise of his kinsman, Edward Herbert II, who purchased the feudal barony of Powis in 1587, Herbert held undisputed sway in Montgomeryshire, although listed in 1574 by the Catholics as one of their three most important adherents in the county. In the musters of 1570 and 1574 he was charged twice as heavily as anyone else in the shire. His grandson, Edward Herbert III, Lord Herbert of Chirbury, described him as ‘a great enemy to the outlaws and thieves’, but he was not above using methods that savoured little of the rule of law, nor was he averse from using his public position to promote his private feuds, especially with his inveterate enemies, the Vaughans of Llwydiarth. A suit between Herbert and one of the Vaughans at the Shrewsbury assizes in 1588 brought to the town a large number of Welsh adherents of the two factions. Rioting occurred, and recurred in the following year, with Herbert’s relative by marriage, Newport, as protagonist of the anti-Vaughan element. Ultimately, Herbert and his namesake of Powis Castle between them managed to exclude the Vaughans from all positions of importance in Montgomeryshire.5

Herbert represented his county as a matter of course in almost every Parliament from 1553 to 1571, and until 1586 the Members needed his approval, if not his nomination. About the time of the Shrewsbury disturbances, he emerged from retirement to stand in the 1588 election against his younger brother-in-law, Arthur Price. At the election the sheriff, determined on Herbert’s return, manipulated the poll so shamelessly as to bring upon himself a Star Chamber suit at the instance of the defeated candidate.

Despite a parliamentary experience longer than that of any other Welsh MP in this period, Herbert made no known contribution to the business of the Commons, though, as a knight of the shire, he would have been qualified to attend the subsidy committee appointed on 11 Feb. 1589. Apart from an Exchequer suit about former gild lands in Montgomery, he appears to have held his lands without serious challenge. His inquisition post mortem shows a compact block in Montgomeryshire with a few estates in Shropshire and Merioneth. His interests in Merioneth included the impropriate rectory of Llanegryn, and mill, toll and fishing rights in the Dovey.

In his old age Herbert abandoned Montgomery Castle for his newly built mansion of Blackhall or Lymore (Llys Mawr), where his hospitality was princely and proverbial. Twenty-five men servants were listed in his will, drawn up shortly before his death on 30 Apr. 1593, and proved on 8 June 1594. The heir was his son Richard but some land in Montgomeryshire and the Merioneth interests went to the second son, Matthew. Other beneficiaries included one of his three illegitimate sons, another Richard. Herbert left £2 for the repair of Montgomery church, where he was buried, and a £5 annuity to the bailiff and burgesses of that town for the maintenance of a schoolmaster. The sum was payable out of lands in Coedmor and Pantynnen which Herbert had purchased from his nephew, Richard Herbert of Park. Three of his legitimate sons—Richard, Matthew and Charles—acted as executors, and the overseers were his kinsman, Sir Edward Herbert, who, despite their rivalry, had supported him in the 1588 election contest, Richard Herbert of Park, Richard Morrice, Hugh Owen and Hugh Lloyd.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A.H.D.


  • 1. Autobiog. of Lord Herbert of Chirbury, ed. Lee, 3-7; Neale, Commons, 99-100; Dwnn, Vis. Wales, ed. Meyrick, i. 293, 312, 313-15; Clark, Limbus, 296; DWB, 347-8.
  • 2. W. V. Lloyd, Sheriffs Mont. 106, 110-12; Lansd. 1218, f. 96; CPR, 1560-3, p. 446; Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 141, 212; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 376; Mont. Colls. ii. 191, 193; iii. 155, 303, 358, 359, 363.
  • 3. DWB, 347-8.
  • 4. Augmentations, ed. Lewis and Davies (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiii), 156; Lloyd, 104-5; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 376.
  • 5. Cath. Rec. Soc. xiii. 110; Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, 181; Flenley, 24; Lee, 3-4; H. Owen and J. B. Blakeway, Shrewsbury, i. 390-1; Lloyd, 203-9, 221-2; Lansd. 103, ff. 102-3.
  • 6. Exchequer, ed. E. G. Jones (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. iv), 274; Mont. Colls. x. 108-18; D’Ewes, 431; C142/241/115; PCC 47 Dixy.