Herbert families of Cherbury, Dolguog, Montgomery and Powis Castle.

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Herbert families of Cherbury, Dolguog, Montgomery and Powis Castle.

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The Herbert families of Montgomery (later Cherbury), Dolguog and Powis Castle shared a common ancestor in Sir William ap Thomas (d. 1466). The Powis Castle branch traced its pedigree through his eldest son, Sir William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, who was executed after the battle of Edgecote Moor in 1469, while the Montgomery and Dolguog branches, together with the Herbert earls of Pembroke and the Herberts of Coldbrook, near Abergavenny, all traced their ancestry through the second son, Sir Richard Herbert of Coldbrook, who was executed along with his brother.

The Cherbury branch of the family was established at Montgomery by Sir Richard Herbert (d. 1539), and took the name of Cherbury after one of its most celebrated members, the philosopher, poet and ambassador Edward Herbert (d. 1648), was created baron Herbert of Cherbury in 1629. His writings are the focal point of this archive.

The Powis Castle Herberts took their name from the ‘Red Castle’ (Powis Castle), which was purchased in 1587 by Sir Edward Herbert (d. 1595), the second son of William Herbert, earl of Pembroke. Despite the physical proximity of Cherbury, Montgomery and Powis Castle, the two branches of the family rarely communicated with each other after the late sixteenth century, largely because, while the Herberts of Powis Castle were staunchly Catholic, the Herberts of Cherbury were generally either Protestant or indifferent to religion. –- Both families held extensive estates, primarily in Wales and the marches, and both held the lordship of Montgomery at various times during the period covered by this archive; notably, also, the Herberts of Cherbury acquired the lordship of Castle Island in County Kerry, Ireland, as a consequence of the failure of the Desmond rebellions, which ended in 1583. Both families also played a central role in politics during the upheavals of the seventeenth century, and both suffered for it. In particular, Edward Herbert of Cherbury lost Montgomery to Parliament during the civil war, and the Herberts of Powis Castle found themselves increasingly isolated because of their Roman Catholic leanings, to the point that William Herbert (d. 1696) and his son William (d. 1745) were both outlawed for treason during the ‘Glorious Revolution’ and subsequent Jacobite resistance. –- The Herbert lines of Cherbury, Dolguog and Powis Castle were re-united in the person of Henry Arthur Herbert (1703-1772), who inherited Dolguog from his father, Francis Herbert, and was created baron Herbert of Cherbury in 1743 and earl of Powis in 1748.


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