Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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POWIS, earls of ( HERBERT ) . The Herbert earldom of Powis dates from 1674 , when WILLIAM HERBERT ( c. 1626 - 1696 ), 3rd baron Powis , was created 1st earl .

Sir EDWARD HERBERT (d. 23 March 1595 ; buried at Welshpool ), second son of William Herbert , 1st earl of Pembroke of the second creation (q.v.) , by Anne Parr , daughter of Sir Thomas Parr , had purchased the ‘ Red Castle ’ in Powis and its lordship from Edward Grey in 1587 (see Powis, Grey, lords of ). He appears to have had Catholic leanings, and his wife and children were returned as recusants in 1594 ( Trans. Cymm. , 1945 , 122).


His son, WILLIAM HERBERT ( 1573 - 1656 ), by Mary , daughter of Thomas Stanley , master of the Mint , was Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire between 1597 and 1629 , member of the Council in Wales and the Marches , knighted at the coronation of James I , and high sheriff of Montgomeryshire , 1613 . In 1616 he secured a grant of the manors of Kedewen and Kerry and the borough and castle of Montgomery . He was created 1st baron Powis in 1629 , and was given the constableship of Radnor castle and the stewardship of Radnor , 1631 . He held Powis castle for Charles I , whom he once entertained there, during the Civil War , but was forced to surrender to Sir Thomas Myddelton , 2 Oct. 1644 . His wife was Eleanor , third daughter of the earl of Northumberland . A protégé of the earl of Pembroke ( Trans. Cymm. , 1942 , 70), his Romanist leanings did not embarrass him, but in later life he appears to have grown stronger in that faith, in which his children were diligently nurtured.


He was succeeded by his only surviving son, Sir PERCY HERBERT ( c. 1600 - 1667 ), who had been knighted and created a baronet in 1622 , and who, like his father, was a member of the Council in Wales and the Marches . In 1639 he was collector in Montgomeryshire of contributions by Romanists towards the war against the Scots , and was for the king in the Civil War . At the Restoration , he headed the North Wales petition against the Regicides . He was the author of Certaine Conceptions … of Sir Percy Herbert , 1652 . His only son (by Elizabeth Craven ) was the 1st earl of Powis .


The 3rd baron Powis was regarded as the chief of the Roman Catholic aristocracy in his day, and his wife was also a Roman Catholic , being the lady Elizabeth Somerset , daughter of the marquess of Worcester ; he m. her in 1654 . Accused of complicity in the Popish Plot , he suffered imprisonment from 1678 to 1685 . Titus Oates alleged that he was to be the chief minister of the Crown had the plot matured. His London house, at the north-west corner of Lincoln's Inn , was burnt by a mob, 26 Oct. 1684 . The accession of James II brought him a dispensation from the Tests and he became a privy councillor in 1686 . In 1687 he was created viscount Montgomery and marquess of Powis , and later became steward of the royal manors in the counties of Cardigan , Carmarthen , Denbigh , and Radnor , and recorder of Denbigh . The infant prince of Wales was entrusted to him and his marchioness , who was lady of the bedchamber to the queen . They safely conveyed the child to France where the king joined them. James advanced him to be marquess of Montgomery and duke of Powis , 12 Jan. 1689 , and in the following month he was outlawed for high treason. He went to Ireland with James and finally settled with him in France , becoming his lord chamberlain and a Knight of the Garter in 1692 . He d. at S. Germain-en-laye , 2 July 1696 . Powis castle was granted in the same year to the Dutch earl of Rochford . Herbert had exercised a moderating influence on the king and the persecuted leaders of Nonconformity in Montgomeryshire (e.g. Richard Davies , the Quaker , and Hugh Owen of Bronyclydwr ) experienced much kindness at this hands. Two of his daughters achieved fame — the fourth, lady LUCY HERBERT ( 1669 - 1744 ), abbess of the English Augustine nuns at Bruges , who wrote several books of devotions, which were collected and printed in 1791 as Several excellent methods of hearing Mass , and the fifth, lady WINIFRED HERBERT (d. at Rome , 1749 ) who, with the aid of two women, one being Grace Evans of Welshpool (d. 1737 ), contrived the escape of her husband, the earl of Nithsdale , lying under sentence of death in the Tower for his part in the Jacobite rising of 1715 . The escape is described in A Letter from Winifred Herbert … to her sister … , 1827 .


His only son, WILLIAM , lord H ERBERT ( c. 1665 - 1745 ), was page of honour at the coronation of James II . He was deputy-lieutenant for the counties of Anglesey , Cardi- gan , Caernarvon , Merioneth , Monmouth , and Pembroke , 1688 . Imprisoned on suspicion of high treason in 1689 , he was outlawed in 1696 , but through a technical error his estates escaped confiscation. He built Powis House in Great Ormond Street , having sold the house in Lincoln's Inn Fields . He was again imprisoned in 1715 , suspected of having abetted the Pretender , but in 1722 his estates were restored to him, and he was summoned to Parliament as marquess of Powis , but the dukedom was not revived, though he appears to have planned to press his claim to it. In politics he was a Tory . He was buried at Hendon , 28 Oct. 1745 , leaving by his wife Mary , daughter of Sir Thomas Preston , two sons, WILLIAM , 3rd marquess , who d. unmarried, aged about 50 in 1748 , and EDWARD (d. 1734 ), who had by his wife Henrietta , daughter of the 1st earl of Waldegrave , a posthumous daughter, BARBARA ( 1735 - 1786 ), who m.


HENRY HERBERT , 4th earl (b. c. 1703 ), son and heir by Dorothy , daughter of John Oldbury of London , merchant , of FRANCIS HERBERT of Dolguog and Oakley Park , who descended in the direct male line from Sir Richard Herbert , brother of William Herbert , 1st earl of Pembroke (both executed, 1469 ), whose illegitimate son, Richard , was ancestor of both the earls of Pembroke and Montgomery and the marquesses of Powis . He also descended from Edward Herbert , baron Herbert of Chirbury of the first creation , to whom the 3rd marquess bequeathed his estates.

Henry Arthur Herbert , a Protestant , and, until 1762 , a Whig ; Member of Parliament for Bletchingley , 1724-7 , and for Ludlow , 1727-43 ; was created baron Herbert of Chirbury , 21 Dec. 1743 . In 1745 he raised a regiment of Fusiliers in Salop to oppose the Young Pretender , and attained the rank of general in 1772 . He was created baron Powis of Powis castle , viscount Ludlow , and earl of Powis in 1748 , and baron Herbert of Chirbury and of Ludlow in 1749 . In 1761 he became comptroller of the Household , privy councillor , and lord-lieutenant of Montgomeryshire . He was treasurer of the Household from 1761 to 1765 , when he resigned to avoid dismissal by the Whigs . On his marriage to Barbara Herbert , 1751 , it is said that arrangements were made for the eldest son and daughter to be brought up as members of the Church of England , and the younger children in their mother's faith. Two children only survived into majority.



GEORGE , who succeeded his father in 1772 , and lady HENRIETTA , who m. Edward , 2nd lord Clive , in 1784 . The 4th earl figures prominently in the Morris Letters , being interested in Welsh mining ventures . He secured a lease of Esgair-mwyn lead mine in 1757 , and Lewis Morris offered to work it for him. The Morris brothers hoped that the earl would secure preferment for Goronwy Owen (q.v.) who composed a cywydd in Welsh and Latin upon the birth of the heir in 1755 . The 4th earl d. 11 Sept. 1772 , and was buried at Welshpool . The 5th earl , George Edward Henry Arthur ( 1755 - 1801 ) was recorder of Ludlow and lord-lieutenant of Montgomeryshire , 1776 , and of Salop , 1798 . He d. 16 Jan. 1801 , unmarried, and was buried at Welshpool . He left his estates to his sister, lady Henrietta Antonia ( 1758 - 1830 ), who had, in 1784 , m. EDWARD ( CLIVE ), 2nd baron Clive of Plassey . The latter became baron Clive of Walcot in 1794 , and was governor of Madras from 1798 to 1803 . In 1804 he was created baron Powis of Powis castle , baron Herbert of Chirbury , viscount Clive of Ludlow , and earl of Powis . He was lord-lieutenant of Montgomeryshire , 1804-30 , and was nominated viceroy of Ireland , 1805 , but he did not assume the office. A Tory , he sided with the Whigs from 1783 to 1794 , but in the House of Lords he voted against the third reading of the Reform Bill , 1832 . He d. 16 May 1839 , and was buried at Bromfield , Salop .


His son and heir, EDWARD , viscount Clive , 1804-39 (educated at Eton and S. John's College , Cambridge , LL.D. 1835 , D.C.L. Oxford , 1844 , Member of Parliament for Ludlow , 1806-39 ) took, in accordance with his maternal uncle's will, the arms and name of HERBERT instead of those of CLIVE , in 1807 . He succeeded his father as lord-lieutenant of Montgomeryshire in 1830 , and took a leading part in suppressing the Chartist riots of 1839 . He was president of the Royal Cambrian Literary Institution and of the Welsh School , Grays Inn Road , London . He sponsored the magnificent Welshpool eisteddfod of 1824 , and from 1843 to 1847 he led the successful opposition to the proposal for uniting the diocese of Bangor and S. Asaph in the interest of a new see of Manchester . From a public testimonial of over £5,000 subscribed to acknowledge his services, the Powis Exhibitions at Oxford and Cambridge were founded for Welsh students preparing for Holy Orders. He was created a Knight of the Garter in 1844 . In 1828 he became a member of the Roxburghe club , its president in 1835, and in 1835 he contributed The Lyvys of the Seyntys to its publications. He stood against the Prince Consort for the chancellorship of the University of Cambridge in 1847 , and was only defeated by 954 to 837 votes. Among his public services in Montgomeryshire were the building of the tower of the parish church and the enlarging of the Town Hall at Montgomery , and the enlarging of the Town Hall at Welshpool . He also enlarged Powis castle . He d. 17 Jan. 1848 , under tragic circumstances, having been accidentally shot by his son, the Hon. Robert Charles Herbert , and was buried at Welshpool . His wife was Lucy ( 1793 - 1875 ), third daughter of James , 3rd duke of Montrose .


His eldest son, EDWARD JAMES , viscount Clive from 1839-48 , succeeded him; b. 5 Nov. 1818 , he also was educated at Eton and S. John's College , Cambridge , and was a classical scholar of repute; high steward of the University of Cambridge from 1863 . From 1855 he was chairman of Montgomery quarter sessions , and from 1877 , lord-lieutenant for Montgomeryshire . He was first president of the University College of North Wales , Bangor , president of the Powysland club from 1867 , of the Cambrian Archaeological Association in 1856 , and of the Hon. Society of Cymmrodorion , 1885 . He took an active part in the development of intermediate education in Montgomeryshire , and was renowned for his generous aid for church building and restoration . He d., unmarried, 7 May 1891 , and was buried at Welshpool . The estate and title passed to his nephew, the 11th earl of Powis , son and heir of lieutenant-general Sir PERCY HERBERT , K.C.B. , P.C. ( 1822 - 1876 ; D.N.B. ).

Bibliography:

  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies , second ed., 1894 ;
  • The Complete Peerage , 1910–40 , x, 1945;
  • J. H. Davies , The Letters of Lewis, Richard, William, and John Morris, of Anglesey, (Morrisiaid Môn) 1728-1765 , 1907–9 ;
  • Owen , Additional Letters of the Morrises of Anglesey (1735-86). Y Cymmrodor , xlix, 1947-9 ;
  • Gwaith Goronwy Owen , Llanrwst, 1860 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , for 1st and 2nd marquesses and for Edward Herbert (1785-1848), 9th earl of Powis;
  • L. B. Namier , The structure of politics at the accession of George III , London, 1929 , for Henry Arthur, 4th earl;
  • Powis Castle Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales in N.L.W.

Author:

Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth