The Info List - William Herbert, 3rd Earl Of Pembroke

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William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke
Earl of Pembroke
KG, PC (8 April 1580 – 10 April 1630) was an English nobleman, politician, and courtier. He was the son of Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
and his third wife Mary Sidney. Chancellor of the University of Oxford, he founded Pembroke College, Oxford with King James. He was warden of the Forest of Dean, and constable of St Briavels from 1608 to 1630.[1] He served as Lord Chamberlain from 1615 to 1625. In 1623, the First Folio
First Folio
of William Shakespeare's plays was dedicated to him, together with his brother, Philip Herbert, 1st Earl of Montgomery.


1 Life and marriage 2 Herbert and Shakespeare's sonnets 3 Notes 4 References 5 External links

Life and marriage[edit]

William Herbert by Daniel Mytens

Arms Sir William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, KG

William Herbert statue at Bodleian Library, Oxford

William was a bookish man, once tutored by the poet Samuel Daniel, and preferred to keep to his study with heavy pipe-smoking to keep his "migraines" at bay. His father negotiated a marriage between the young Herbert and Bridget de Vere, the granddaughter of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. Offered 3,000 pounds and an annuity to begin at Burghley's death, the prospective groom wanted immediate payment of the annuity. The negotiations failed, and he remained single. At the age of twenty, he had an affair with Mary Fitton
Mary Fitton
(who has been suggested as a possible model for the Dark Lady of the sonnets), whom he impregnated. Admitting paternity, he refused to marry her and was sent to Fleet prison
Fleet prison
where he wrote verse. In 1601, Mary gave birth to a boy who died immediately. He petitioned Sir Robert Cecil and was eventually released, though he and Mary were both barred from court. He married Lady Mary Talbot, the dwarfish and deformed daughter of Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, on 4 November 1604. Herbert had an affair with his cousin, Lady Mary Wroth, daughter of Robert Sidney, brother of Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, Herbert's mother. The relationship produced at least two illegitimate children, a daughter, Catherine, and a son, William. In “Herbertorum Prosapia” a seventeenth-century manuscript compilation of the history of the Herbert family, held at the Cardiff Library, a cousin of the earl of Pembroke, Sir Thomas Herbert records William Herbert’s paternity of Wroth’s two children.[2] He died in 1630, aged 50 and his titles passed to his brother, Philip Herbert, 1st Earl of Montgomery. He was buried in Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral
in a family vault in front of the altar. Herbert and Shakespeare's sonnets[edit] Herbert has been seen as the "Fair Youth" in William Shakespeare's sonnets, whom the poet urges to marry. Some years Shakespeare's junior, he was a patron of the playwright and his initials match with the dedication of the Sonnets to one "Mr. W.H.", "the only begetter of these ensuing sonnets." The identification was first proposed by James Boaden in his 1837 tract On the Sonnets of Shakespeare. E. K. Chambers, who had previously considered Southampton to be the Fair Youth, changed his mind when he encountered evidence in letters that around 1595 young Herbert had been urged to wed Elizabeth Carey, granddaughter of Henry Carey, the Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chamberlain
who ran Shakespeare’s company. But he refused to marry her.[3] In her Arden Shakespeare
edition of the Sonnets, Katherine Duncan-Jones argues that Herbert is the likelier candidate.[4] The First Folio
First Folio
of Shakespeare's plays was dedicated to "incomparable pair of brethren" William Herbert and his brother Philip Herbert. Herbert was also an important patron of the arts[5] and a member of the Whitehall group. Notes[edit]

^ British History Online ^ Mary Ellen Lamb, Wroth , Lady Mary (1587–1651/1653), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008. ^ Williams, Charles, and E. K. Chambers. Short Life of Shakespeare With the Sources. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1933 (1956), pp. 129-30. ^ Duncan-Jones, Katherine, ed. Shakespeare's Sonnets (1997), pp. 52-69. ^ National Portrait Gallery


Haynes, Alan. Sex in Elizabethan England. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing Limited, 1997. ISBN 0-905778-35-9

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke.

Political offices

Preceded by John Herbert Custos Rotulorum of Glamorgan 1603–1630 Succeeded by The 4th Earl of Pembroke

Preceded by Sir Walter Raleigh Lord Warden of the Stannaries Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall 1604–1630

Preceded by Sir Francis Godolphin Custos Rotulorum of Cornwall 1606–1630

Preceded by The Earl of Somerset Lord Chamberlain 1615–1625

Preceded by The Earl of Hertford Lord Lieutenant of Somerset and Wiltshire 1621–1630

Preceded by Sir William Wogan Custos Rotulorum of Pembrokeshire 1625–1630

Preceded by The Earl of Worcester Custos Rotulorum of Monmouthshire 1628–1630

Preceded by The Marquess of Hamilton Lord Steward 1625–1630 Succeeded by The Earl of Arundel and Surrey

Legal offices

Preceded by The Duke of Buckingham Justice in Eyre south of the Trent 1629–1630 Succeeded by The Earl of Holland

Academic offices

Preceded by Viscount Brackley Chancellor of the University of Oxford 1616–1630 Succeeded by William Laud

Peerage of England

Preceded by Henry Herbert Earl of Pembroke 1601–1630 Succeeded by Philip Herbert

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 42632646 LCCN: n87912413 ISNI: 0000 0001 1059 4381 GND: 118826409 BNE: XX1583