(C. Pembroke)

Born: ABT 1580

Died: 1650, Ramsbury House, Wiltshire, England

Buried: Salisbury Cathedral

Father: Gilbert TALBOT (7° E. Shrewsbury)

Mother: Mary CAVENDISH (C. Shrewsbury)

Married: William HERBERT (3° E. Pembroke) 4 Nov 1604


1. Henry HERBERT (d. young)

Mary Talbot was the eldest daughter of Gilbert Talbot, 7th earl of Shrewsbury, and Mary Cavendish, and was thus a granddaughter of Bess of Hardwick. Her godmother was Mary, Queen of Scots. She had two sisters, both of whom also married into the nobility: Alethea, Countess of Arundel, and Elizabeth, Countess of Kent.

She was at the court of Queen Elizabeth from 1600-1603 as a maid of the Privy Chamber and her sister Elizabeth was a maid of honour.

It appears from a letter of 1603 that Sir Thomas Edmondes was instrumental in persuading her father of the advantages of her marrying to William Herbert, 3rd earl of Pembroke, on 4 Nov 1604 at Wilton, Wiltshire. The wedding was celebrated with a tournament at Wilton, but the marriage was unhappy and had only one child, Henry, who died in infancy. She was a patron of the arts, especially after she married Herbert. Pembroke’s elegy includes this line: “He paid much too dear for his wife’s fortune by taking her person into the bargain”.

Mary Herbert and her sister the Countess of Arundel were asked to "grace the court" during the visit of a French aristocrat, the Count of Vaudémont, in Oct 1606. Rowland Whyte mentioned a dance at Hampton Court held in the presence chamber of Anne of Denmark. Mary Herbert, described as "Lady Pembroke", danced with a member of the count's entourage, Prince Henry, and James Drummond, Earl of Perth. Whyte wrote "No lady there did dance near so well as she did that day". Whyte added that the sisters were reluctant to write to their parents themselves. They were joined at Hampton Court by Mary Sidney, Lady Wroth and Susan De Vere, Lady Montgomery.

The Talbot Papers, held in Lambeth Palace Library, include several references to Mary.

Following her husband's death in 1630, the dowager countess sometimes stayed at Baynard's Castle. She died at Ramsbury Manor, Wiltshire, and was buried at Salisbury Cathedral.

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