HERBERT, Percy (c.1597-1667), of Hendon, Mdx. and Powis Castle, Mont.
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Family and Education
b. c.1597, 1st s. of Sir William Herbert* of Hendon and Powis Castle and Eleanor, da. of (Sir) Henry (Percy†), 8th earl of Northumberland. m. 19 Nov. 1622 (with c.£30,000), Elizabeth (d. 8 Oct. 1662), da. of Sir William Craven, Merchant Taylor of Leadenhall Street, London, ld. mayor 1610-11, 1s. 1da.1 kntd. 7 Nov. 1622;2 cr. bt. 16 Nov. 1622.3 suc. fa. as 2nd Bar. Powis 7 Mar. 1656. d. 20 Jan. 1667.4 sig. Percy Herbert.
Herbert was returned to the Commons for Shaftesbury in March 1621 on the interest of his father’s cousin William Herbert, 3rd earl of Pembroke; he left no trace on the records of the session. In the following year, on the occasion of his match with the daughter of the wealthy City moneylender, Sir William Craven, he acquired a baronetcy, thus (temporarily) outranking his father, Sir William. Craven gave his daughter lands and cash worth almost £30,000, while Herbert’s father settled the Powis Castle estate upon him, and Pembroke added other lands to guarantee the couple an income of £2,500 p.a. At the 1624 election Pembroke obtained another seat for Herbert, this time at Wilton. During the session, Herbert was ordered to attend a conference with the Lords to hear Prince Charles’s account of the failure of the Spanish Match (11 March).11
In 1625 it was Herbert’s father rather than Herbert himself who was returned for Wilton. Sir Percy probably never stood for election again, possibly because of suspicions about his religion: his mother was reported to the Commons as a Catholic in 1624, and a decade later he and his wife converted. Philip (Herbert*) 4th earl of Pembroke angrily urged the king to take custody of Herbert’s son to ensure he was raised as a Protestant, but Herbert’s father pleaded successfully that he might not be considered ‘the most jesuited papist of England, and made the only example in this kind’. Nevertheless, Herbert was removed from the commission of the peace.12
Herbert solicited Catholic contributions towards the Bishops’ Wars, for which offence the Long Parliament detained him. Released upon bail in 1644, he fortified Powis Castle, allegedly in self-defence, but his royalist father commandeered the garrison, which fell to parliamentarian forces shortly thereafter. Herbert subsequently went into exile; he and his father were not allowed to compound, and their lands were sold in 1652.13 In 1650 Herbert published a tract which censured the ‘continuance, if not increase of sin and vice’ over the previous decade and urged the nation to seek salvation in religion.14
Herbert inherited his father’s barony when the latter died in 1656, and recovered his estates at the Restoration when, despite his Catholicism, he was reappointed a magistrate in Montgomeryshire. His will tactfully avoided drawing attention to his religion. He died on 20 Jan. 1667, and was buried at Welshpool. The family’s Catholicism barred them from the Commons thereafter.15
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: John. P. Ferris / Simon Healy
- 1. C.H. Cooper, ‘Percy Herbert, Lord Powis’, Archaeologia, xxxix, 464-70; C2/Chas.I/H114/59.
- 2. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 180.
- 3. CB.
- 4. CP.
- 5. C231/4, ff. 160; 231/5, p. 116; JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 138-42, 146-7.
- 6. Ltcy. Commn. to Ld. Pres. Bridgwater (1625); HEHL, EL7443.
- 7. C181/3, f. 190.
- 8. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 97.
- 9. HEHL, EL7443.
- 10. Eg. 2882, f. 162v.
- 11. Cooper, 464-70; CB; C78/440/5; C2/Chas.I/H114/59; CJ, i. 683a.
- 12. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, ii. 147.
- 13. Mont. Collections, v. 189; xx. 15; Herbert Corresp. ed. W.J. Smith (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studs. Hist. and Law ser. xxi), 22-5.
- 14. Certaine Conceptions or Considerations ... upon the Strange Change of Peoples Dispositions and Actions in these latter times (1650, reprinted 1651 and 1652).
- 15. PRO 30/53/7/33.