HERBERT, James (1660-1704), of Tythrop House, Kingsey, Bucks.

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



14 Apr. 1677
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679 - 8 Jan. 1681
28 Jan. 1696
Feb. 1701
Dec. 1701
1702 - 11 Nov. 1704

Family and Education

bap. 27 Apr. 1660, 1st s. of Hon. James Herbert. educ. travelled abroad (France) 1675-8. m. 1 July 1674, Lady Catherine Osborne, da. of Sir Thomas Osborne, 1st Duke of Leeds, 3s. 4da. suc. fa. 1677.1

Offices Held

Dep. lt. Oxon. 1681-Feb. 1688, Bucks. 1685-Feb. 1688, Bucks. and Oxon. Oct. 1688-d., Kent 1694-d.; j.p. Oxon. 1682-Mar. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., Bucks. 1685-Feb. 1688, Sept. 1688-d.; freeman, Oxford 1684-Jan. 1688, Devizes 1684-Mar. 1688; commr. for assessment, Bucks., Kent and Oxon. 1689-90; maj. of militia ft. Oxon. by 1697-d.2

Receiver-gen. of prizes 1689-99, 1702-d.3


Though both under age and out of the country, ‘very commendably employed in study or ingenious conversation or designing’ in Paris, Herbert was returned for Queenborough unopposed within a fortnight of his father’s death. His hereditary interest, coupled with the government interest he enjoyed as son-in-law to the lord treasurer, obliged his opponent to withdraw before the poll. Though he was not, as alleged inA Seasonable Argument, ‘but fifteen years old’, he did not take his seat until the following year, when he may have been appointed to one committee, on the bill for the new parish of St. James Piccadilly. He was marked ‘doubly vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list, and his name appeared on both lists of the court party in 1678. Re-elected to the first Exclusion Parliament after a contest, he was marked ‘vile’ by Shaftesbury. He was appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges. According to the official list he voted against exclusion, but Roger Morrice put him down among the absentees. Despite the timely present of a new mace to the Queenborough corporation, Herbert’s majority sank to one at the next election, and he was unseated in favour of William Glanville without taking any ascertainable part in the proceedings of the second Exclusion Parliament. On its dissolution he renewed his candidature, but without success.4

After the Rye House Plot, ‘young Mr Herbert’ was active in searching for arms in Oxfordshire, and personally arrested Charlton, Shaftesbury’s chief confidant, on the high road. At the general election of 1685, however, he seems to have covertly encouraged his Buckinghamshire tenants to vote for the Whig, the Hon. Thomas Wharton, whilst he transferred himself to Westbury, where he was returned, probably without a contest, on the Bertie interest, and included by his father-in-law among the Opposition in James II’s Parliament. A moderately active Member, he was named to the elections committee and those for St. James Piccadilly and the Earl of Cleveland’s creditors. To the questions put to him by the lord lieutenant of Oxfordshire about the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, he replied: ‘Though he should be ready to serve the King in anything else, he cannot consent. ... He shall be for the electing of such as are of the same opinion.’ In the abortive election of 1688 Herbert was returned for Queenborough, again presumably in his absence, for he took part in Danby’s rising in the north, and was sent as his messenger to the Prince of Orange. The 1689 election confirmed his return for Queenborough. According to Ailesbury’s list he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. But he became a court Tory and was made receiver-general of prizes. No committees or speeches can definitely be attributed to him in the Convention, but he was given leave to go into the country for a week on urgent business on 2 Dec. Herbert lost his seat at the general election, but sat for Aylesbury from 1696 to his death as a Tory, though he signed the Association in 1696. He died on 11 Nov. 1704. His son was elected for Queenborough in 1710 and for Oxfordshire after the Hanoverian succession.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Mems. of St. Margaret’s Westminster, 261; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 826; v. 886; Westminster City Lib. St. Martin in the Fields par. reg.; PCC 49 Hale, 53 Gee.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 515; 1683-4, p. 358; 1694-5, p 128; Bucks. Sess. Recs. ed. Le Hardy, i. 165, 510; ii. 455; Council Acts (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 162; PC2/72, ff. 579, 632; Eg. 1626, f. 36.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 217; CSP Dom. 1699-1700, p. 210; Luttrell, v. 183.
  • 4. Browning, Danby, ii. 554; HMC 14th Rep. IX, 414; Arch. Cant. xxii. 185.
  • 5. CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, pp. 153, 238, 244; Jones, First Whigs, 191; Browning, i. 368, 560; ii. 149, 154; Kent AO, Qb/RP, f. 1; Luttrell, v. 183; Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1700-15, p. 92.