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The Tudor Society
  • March 17 – William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, Black Will Herbert

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th March 1570, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, soldier, courtier and landowner, died at Hampton Court, aged sixty-three.

    Here are some facts about this Tudor earl, who was known as Black Will Herbert and had a queen as a sister-in-law…

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  • February 20 – Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, wife of Black Will Herbert and sister of Catherine Parr

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th February 1552, Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, died at Baynard’s Castle in London.

    Anne was the younger sister of Queen Catherine Parr and served Queens Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard.

    Let me give you a few facts about this Tudor countess…

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  • A monk who embraced reform, a translator and soldier, and Black Will Herbert

    In this first part of This Week in Tudor History for the week beginning 15th March, I look at the life and career of a bishop who started out as a monk but whose conversion to the reformed faith saw him dying an awful death in the reign of Queen Mary I, before moving on to the death of a soldier, translator and diplomat in Henry VIII’s reign, and the death of a Tudor earl and brother-in-law of a queen who was once known as Black Will Herbert.

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  • William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1507-1570)

    William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, attributed to Steven van Herwijck

    William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, soldier and magnate and a man who served four monarchs, was the second son of Sir Richard Herbert of Ewyas (the illegitimate son of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, of the 8th creation) and his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Matthew Cradock of Swansea. Richard served King Henry VII as a gentleman usher. Very little is known of Herbert’s early life, only that he lost his father in 1510 and was then brought up by his mother and her third husband, William Bawdrip.

    In 1514, Herbert entered the service of Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester, who was married to Herbert’s half-uncle’s daughter. John Aubrey recorded that William Herbert was known as ‘Black Will Herbert’ and that he was ‘a mad fighting fellow’. Aubrey also recorded that Herbert was illiterate, which seems to be a baseless accusation, and that he killed a mercer in Bristol and then fled to France, joining the army of Francis I. It is not known whether that claim was true and his name does appear in a coroner’s report.

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