Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HERBERT , GEORGE ( 1593 - 1633 ), cleric and poet .

Born in London 3 April 1593 , the fifth son of Richard (d. 1596 ) and Magdalen Herbert (see under Herbert of Montgomery ). His father dying in 1596 , he was left in the care of his mother; she lived for a time with her mother, lady Newport , at Eyton , then moved to Oxford , and from there to London . George was in the hands of a tutor until he entered Westminster School in 1605 . From there he proceeded to Trinity College , Cambridge , in 1609 . On the following New Year's Day he sent two sonnets to his mother, in which he declared his intention to devote himself to sacred poetry . Already his health was poor, and for the rest of his life he had to battle against this weakness.

In 1612 he graduated, in 1614 he was elected a Fellow , and in 1616 obtained a master's degree . In 1618 he was made Praelector in Rhetoric and, in 1620 , Public Orator . He delivered a number of orations, but resigned the post in 1626 , as his interest had turned elsewhere. In Jan. 1624 , he was elected as member of Parliament for Montgomery borough , and in 1625 he sat in the first parliament of Charles I .

However, he decided to abandon a secular career. He already held a sinecure as comportioner of the rectory of Llandinam , a post which he retained until his death; and from 1626 , when he was made a prebendary of Leighton Ecclesia by the bishop of Lincoln , his mind was bent on the priesthood.

He m. Jane Danvers in 1629 and the year after became rector of Fuggleston-cum-Bemerton in Wiltshire . He d. and was buried at Bemerton 3 March 1633 .

His chief works are A Priest to the Temple , printed in Herbert's Remains , 1652 , and The Temple , 1633 . He was loved for his piety and devotion to his calling, and his poems rank high for the sincerity with which they reveal his spiritual struggles.


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Isaak Walton , Izaak Walton's Life of George Herbert (London, 1670) ;
  • W. R. Williams , The History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales (1895) , 148;
  • G. H. Palmer , introduction to Herbert's The English works of George Herbert (Boston, 1905) , 1907 ;
  • F. E. Hutchinson , introduction to Herbert's The Works of George Herbert (Oxford, 1941) ;
  • R. I. Aaron , Modern Language Review , 1941 .


Emeritus Professor Herbert Gladstone Wright, M.A., (1888-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959