HERBERT, William II (c.1593-1651), of Coldbrook, Abergavenny, Mon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1593,1 1st s. of William Herbert of Coldbrook, and Catherine, da. of Thomas Morgan of Tredegar, Mon. m. (1) by 1614, Priscilla, da. of Sir Edward Pigott of Loughton, Bucks., 2s.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of John Cleypole I† of Northborough, Northants., 4s. (?2 d.v.p.) 1da.2 suc. fa. 1608.3 d. bet. 8 Mar. and 12 June 1651.4 sig. Will[iam] Herbert.

Offices Held

J.p. Mon. 1627-42, 1643-?d.,5 commr. sewers 1636, 1639,6 sheriff 1637-8, 1646,7 dep. lt. by 1637,8 commr. array 1642,9 assessment 1643, 1646-?d., Glos. and Herefs. 1646,10 propagation of the Gospel, Wales 1650-d.11

Capt. of horse (parl.), Mon. 1646-8; col. of horse (parl.) by 1648.12


The Herberts of Coldbrook were descended from Sir Richard Herbert, the younger brother of the 1st earl of Pembroke. Sir Richard’s support for the Yorkists during the Wars of the Roses allowed him to build an impressive residence at Coldbrook out of the profits of confiscated Lancastrian lands, but occasioned his execution after the defeat at Banbury.13 The family was one of the numerous scions of the house of Herbert in Monmouthshire, and provided Members for both the borough and county seats from the mid-sixteenth century. The Member’s father died when he was 15, and his wardship was purchased by his great-uncle, secretary of state Sir John Herbert*.14 At about the same time Sir John probably arranged his marriage to the daughter of a Buckinghamshire squire.15

Herbert was not a particularly affluent member of Monmouthshire society, being rated at only £3 in the 1628 subsidy - less than many of his neighbours.16 Consequently, it was probably his ties to William Herbert, 3rd earl of Pembroke, which account for his election for Monmouthshire in 1626, as the earl had a considerable electoral presence in the county. Pembroke may have hoped that Herbert would participate in the planned attack on Buckingham, but there is no clear evidence on this score. Some confusion exists over Herbert’s activities in the 1626 assembly. The Journal often refers to ‘Mr. Herbert’, but mostly it seems that the clerk was intending to indicate Edward Herbert, the lawyer who sat for Downton. However, it is quite possible that the ‘Mr. Herbert’ who was nominated to committees for bills to direct the true conformity of popish recusants (8 May) and punish adultery (1 June) was the Monmouthshire Member, since evidence from his later life reveals him to have been a godly Protestant.17 At any rate, he was almost certainly the Member who alerted the committee of religion to the suspicions of popery surrounding Morgan Lewis, headmaster of Abergavenny grammar school, Monmouthshire, which lay near his own home.18

Herbert was a conscientious Ship Money sheriff in Monmouthshire in 1637-8, collecting all the required monies from the county apart from the assessment on the town of Newport.19 His eldest son, Henry†, married into the family of Sir Benjamin Rudyard*, a longstanding Pembroke client. During the Civil War father and son became notable opponents of the Catholic earls of Worcester, longstanding rivals of the Herbert interest in Monmouthshire.20 Initially named as one of the county’s commissioners of array (for which he later faced articles of delinquency), Herbert was removed after he wrote to his son in the Commons describing how he had been displaced from the bench in favour of Worcester’s Catholic clients. He later received the thanks of the House for his ‘good services’.21 Although he and his son were not in a position to influence affairs in Monmouthshire during the war, the royalist defeat allowed them a prominent place in county government and lucrative spoils from Worcester’s estates, granted towards the ‘satisfaction of their great losses and damages sustained ... from the king’s forces’.22

In his will of 8 Mar. 1651, Herbert made provision for his younger children Thomas, Charles, William and Rachel, and constituted his heir, Henry, as his executor.23 Henry sat on the Republican Council of State, and his son, Sir James† represented Monmouth in the 1685 Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Lloyd Bowen


  • 1. C142/308/110.
  • 2. C2/Jas.I/H32/58; PROB 11/217, ff. 123-4v; J.A. Bradney, Hist. Mon. i, pt. 2, p. 189.
  • 3. C142/308/110.
  • 4. PROB 11/217, ff. 123-4v.
  • 5. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 356-60; Pvte. Jnls. of the Long Parl. June-Sept. 1642, p. 287.
  • 6. C181/5, ff. 30, 156.
  • 7. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 83; CJ, iv. 522; LJ, viii. 293.
  • 8. HEHL, EL7443.
  • 9. Northants. RO, FH133; CCAM, 1022.
  • 10. A. and O. i. 233; LJ, viii. 184a; NLW, Jones of Llanarth, A (20).
  • 11. A. and O. ii. 342; T. Richards, Hist. of Puritan Movement in Wales, 93-4.
  • 12. CJ, iv. 522; LJ, viii. 293; E179/148/87.
  • 13. Bradney, i, pt. 2, pp. 185, 189; P. Smith, ‘Coldbrook House’, Arch. Camb. cvi. 64-71; G. Williams, Renewal and Reformation, 112, 194.
  • 14. C142/308/110; WARD 9/162, f. 76v; C2/Jas.I/H25/3.
  • 15. C2/Jas.I/H32/58.
  • 16. E179/148/83.
  • 17. CJ, i. 857a, 865b.
  • 18. Ibid. 852a, 869b.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1637-8, p. 603.
  • 20. E. Walker, Hist. Discourses, (1705), p. 130.
  • 21. Private Jnls. of the Long Parl. June-Sept. 1642, pp. 287-8; CJ, ii. 708b, 763b; Northants. RO, FH133; CCAM, 1022.
  • 22. CJ, iv. 522a, 529a; LJ, viii. 293a-b; CCAM, 1022, 1715.
  • 23. PROB 11/217, ff. 123-4v.