Sir George HERBERT of Swansey, Knight

Born: 1494, Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales

Died: 2 Sep 1570

Father: Richard HERBERT (Sir)

Mother: Margaret CRADOCK

Married: Elizabeth BERKELEY BEF 1531

Children:

1. William HERBERT of Cogan Pill

2. John HERBERT

3. Matthew HERBERT

4. Catherine HERBERT

5. Cecilia HERBERT

6. Margaret HERBERT

7. Richard HERBERT of Ewyas?

Associated with: Grace BEWRING (w. of Geoffrey Newton)


The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born 1494/5, first son of Richard Herbert of Ewyas, Herefordshire by Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir Matthew Cradock of Swansea; brother of William Herbert. Married 1st, by 1531 Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Berkeley of The Vyne, Hants.,
and had 3 sons, including William Herbert of Cogan Pill, and 3 daughters; married 2nd Grace Bewring, widow of Geoffrey Newton. Succeeded father 1510. Knighted 12 Mar/18 Apr 1543. Steward, lordships of Abergavenny, Mon. by Jan 1516, of Gower and Kilvey, Glam. 1526-death, of Gelligaer, Glam. c. 1540, of Swansea by 1549-?60, of Neath abbey, Glam. 1533, cts. of Abergavenny priory in 1535; receiver, Glam. Jun 1524; esquire of the body by 1533; commissioner tenths of spiritualities, diocese of Llandaff 1535, coastal defense, S. Wales 1539, benevolence, Glam. 1544/5, relief 1549, 1550, goods of churches and fraternaties 1553; ?receiver, estates of the Earls of Worcester, S. Wales by 1538-54 or later; sheriff, Glam. 1540-1, 1552-3; Justice of Peace Glam. 1543-55 or later, other Welsh counties early 1550s, Glos., Herefs., Salop, Worcs. 1554, q. Glam. by 1561-?death; custos rot. Glam. 1543, dep. c.1547; gent. waiter, household of Queen Catherine Parr by 1544-8; receiver, ct. augmentations, Glam. in 1545; v.-adm. S. Wales 1550-8; member, Council in the marches of Wales in 1551-3 or later; mayor, Cardiff in 1553.

George Herbert's career was patterned on, although it did not rival, that of his younger brother William, 1st Earl of Pembroke. Until about 1540 he made his way in South Wales under the aegis of his kinsmen George Neville, Lord Abergavenny and Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester and his son Henry, later the second Earl, but his position was transformed by his brother's ascendancy at court and King Henry VIII's marriage to William Herbert's sister-in-law Catherine Parr. The marriage took place after the close of the second session of the Parliament of 1542, to which George Herbert had been returned for Glamorgan: he had the double distinction of being the first sheriff of the shire which he had helped to set up at the union and its first knight in Parliament. After the dissolution he and his brother fought in the Boulogne campaign. He could have been re-elected to the Parliaments of 1545 and 1555 for which the name of the knight of the shire is lost, and he was perhaps John Bassett's replacement in the Parliament of 1547. While sheriff in 1553 he returned his kinsmen George Mathew and Anthony Mansell to Parliament, and in 1558 and 1559 he presumably encouraged his son William's and his grandson William's election.

Herbert's relations with his neighbors, kinsmen and colleagues on the bench in Glamorgan were not always happy. He was accused in the Star Chamber by two of the sons of Sir Edward Carne of assaulting them at Cowbridge in 1538 and conspiring
with Sir Rhys Mansell, with what outcome is unknown. Rivalry between him and Mansell intensified after Mansell's appointment as chamberlain of South Wales, a post which Herbert had coveted while a member of the council in the marches. In 1555
an information was laid in the Exchequer by Mansell or a client about the size of Herberts following, with the result that he was ordered to limit it to 40 men, a figure for which he had received a license. Matters came to a head in Dec
1557 after the wreck of a French vessel near Oxwich. Mansell arrested the survivors and took the cargo for himself, while Herbert claimed the prisoners for the Admiralty and the freight for Worcester; in the ensuing contest Mansell's sister was
accidentally killed. The Star Chamber decreed in Mansell's favor in May 1558 and ordered Herbert's committal to the Fleet pending trial for manslaughter, but whether he was found guilty is not recorded. An attempt by the Council to reconcile the pair failed, and local intervention met with no success before Mansell's death in 1559. Herbert sued out of general pardon from Elizabeth and after being left off her commission of the peace he was restored to the bench in 1561 and was one of the quorum until his death, apparently intestate, on 2 Sep 1570. Following the disclosure that he owed the crown 1200 pounds almost certainly money collected by his son Matthew as receiver for South Wales and not delivered to the augmentatios before Matthew's death, his goods were distrained but within two years his heir and grandson William was able to enter upon an estat free from debt. Grace Bewring survived him but in later legal proceedings the heir alleged that Herbert had never lawfully been married to her.
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