Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,

Home      Blog      Surnames      Ancestors      Contact

€1,000 competition      Things to do



Our common ancestors - Herbert - Contents

Henry Herbert, 10th Earl of Pembroke

The 10th Earl, his wife Elizabeth Spencer, and their son the 11th Earl (born 1759) as a boy.
Engraving by James Watson, after painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds, published 1773.
See full size. From NPG. See terms of use.

Henry Herbert, 10th Earl of Pembroke and 7th Earl of Montgomery,
born 3rd July 1734, descendant of Edward III,
see here and here and here and here.
He was educ Eton.
He succ 1750 when his father died.
He went on an extensive Grand Tour 1751-55. He spent nearly a year in Florence in 1753-54.
He became a Captain in the 1st Dragoon Guards.
He became an authority on breaking cavalry horses. He built indoor Riding School at Wilton 1755 (now visitors centre).
He commissioned 55 paintings of military riding exercises 1755. These now hang in Large Smoking Room, Wilton. They were published in The Wilton House Riding School, Dorian Williams.
He mar 23rd Mar 1756 [him age 21, her age 19] to Lady Elizabeth Spencer [born Jan-Mar 1737] and had issue:

  1. George Augustus Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke,
    born 10th Sept 1759 (NOT 20th), Whitehall, London,
    poss. named after his uncle George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough, who had just succeeded 1758.

  2. Charlotte Herbert, born 14th July 1773,
    died from consumption, 21st Apr 1784, age 10 yrs.

In 1756-59 he re-built the family's town house, Pembroke House, London.
In 1756 he became a Major in the 1st Foot Guards.
Before 1760 he bought 40 Queen Anne St, London. Used it as a London town-house.
He was despatched c. early 1760 with his regiment to Germany to take part in the Seven Years' War (spanned 1756-63, Prussia was Britain's ally).
He was Major-General commanding the Cavalry Brigade in Germany 1760-61.
He eventually became a Lieutenant-General.
He wrote the British Army's manual on riding, Military Equitation: or A Method of Breaking Horses, and Teaching Soldiers to Ride (1761). His methods were adopted throughout the British cavalry (book had gone into 4th edn by 1793).

He had a brief affair early 1762 [him age 27, her age 19] with Kitty Hunter [born 1743, descendant of Edward III].
Henry had returned from Germany Jan 1762. He immediately met and fell for Kitty.
They eloped in Feb 1762 to the Low Countries (him disguising himself as a sailor, and leaving a note for his wife).
See account by Horace Walpole.
But soon he was recalled to the Army in Germany. Kitty returned to England, already pregnant, and gave birth Nov 1762. He returned to England Feb 1763 and was reconciled to his wife Mar 1763.
10th Earl and Kitty had illegitimate issue:

  1. Augustus Reebkomp (later Montgomery),
    illegitimate, born 23rd Nov 1762, England,
    think bapt 25th [Wilton House video shows entry],
    named Augustus Retnuh (Hunter backwards) Reebkomp (anagram of Pembroke),
    Retnuh middle name, NOT part of surname.

His wife Elizabeth was admired by the King George III in the early 1760s. This came back to embarrass her when he suffered madness in later life.
Henry had another affair on the Continent in 1768, in Venice. [Pembroke Papers, vol.I, p.41] says there was a story that he carried the lady off on the very night of her wedding to someone else.
Henry had illegitimate issue:

  1. Caroline Medkaff, or Medkalf,
    born 1768 or 1769, illegitimate,
    as with his other illegitimate child, the 10th Earl acknowledged her and paid for her,
    she was educ in England,
    mar 1786 to John Williams and had issue,
    mentioned in 1792 codicil to 10th Earl's will as his dau.

Henry was appointed a Lord of the Bedchamber to George III in 1769.
Elizabeth was the principal lady-in-waiting (Mistress of the Robes) to Queen Charlotte.
The King and Queen stayed with them at Wilton for two nights in 1778 (NOT 1788).
Henry advanced to the rank of General in 1782.
"Husbands are dreadfull and powerfull Animals" wrote the long-suffering Elizabeth after taking her husband back. But she was not completely helpless. She prevented him from giving Reebkomp the surname "Herbert". (Reebkomp had to make do with adopting the name "Montgomery" in 1782.)
She and Henry ended up in separate quarters at Wilton (him downstairs, her upstairs).
Eventually she left him in 1788.
She moved to Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, London (put at her disposal by the King).

The King's madness:
But then the King, who had been attracted to Elizabeth all his life, suffered his first bout of insanity in 1788, and she had to endure the embarrassment of his unwanted attentions.
She features in the movie The Madness of King George (1994) played by Amanda Donohoe. The King introduces her: "Now, that's Lady Pembroke. Handsome woman, what? Daughter of the Duke of Marlborough. Stuff of generals. Blood of Blenheim. Husband an utter rascal. Eloped in a packet-boat." The movie shows the mad King harassing her, but shows her (and the Queen) remaining loyal to him. Set in 1788, she was actually much older than portrayed.
In the movie she says "My mother-in-law lost her wits" [but is now cured]. This is invention. Her mother-in-law Mary Fitzwilliam died in 1769.
The concert with the bell-ringers, and two later scenes with the Prince of Wales, are actually shot in the Double Cube Room (with group portrait visible) at Wilton (though it is not meant to be Wilton in the story).

Henry died at Wilton, 26th Jan 1794, age 59 yrs,
bur Wilton parish church.
Elizabeth suffered unwanted attentions of King sporadically until 1805.
She died 30th Apr 1831, age 94 yrs.

The 10th Earl as a boy, 1748 (age 14).
Portrait by follower of Jonathan Richardson (died 1745).
Used here with the kind permission of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

10th Earl.
Engraving by Charles Turner Warren, after portrait by W.H. Brown, published 1792.
See full size. From NPG. See terms of use.

Listing of the Earls in [Watson's Almanack, Dublin, 1761].
Shows the 10th Earl of Pembroke with his London town house at "Privy-Garden".
See full size.

Title page of the 4th edn (1793) of the 10th Earl's book Military Equitation.
The 1st edn was dated from Pembroke House 1761.

The ship, the Earl of Pembroke

Captain Cook's famous ship, the Endeavour, was formerly the Earl of Pembroke (possibly also referred to as the Lord Pembroke).
It was a merchant ship built 1764, named after 10th Earl, purchased for Cook 1768, refitted and renamed the Endeavour.

There is a modern replica 18th cent ship, the Earl of Pembroke (built in the 1940s as the Orion, reconstructed as an 18th cent style ship in 1994).
This has been used in many films, and was re-named the Earl of Pembroke in the time of the 17th Earl the film-maker.
However, the inspiration for the name was apparently the fact that Captain Cook's Endeavour used to be the Earl of Pembroke.

The Earl of Pembroke, later HMS Endeavour, leaving Whitby Harbour, North Yorkshire, in 1768.
See full size. From here.

Letters of Horace Walpole

Horace Walpole wrote about the affair of Pembroke with Kitty Hunter in 1762.

Letter by Horace Walpole on 22 Feb 1762.
From pp.486-487 of Vol.3 (1861 edn) of The letters of Horace Walpole.

Letter by Horace Walpole on 25 Feb 1762.
From pp.491-492 of same volume.
He passes on a quip that someone else made:
"As Pembroke a horseman by most is accounted, 'Tis not strange that his lordship a Hunter has mounted."

Letter by Horace Walpole on 29 Mar 1763.
From p.59 of Vol.4 of 1906 edn of The letters of Horace Walpole.
Censored version on pp.255-256 of Vol.4 of 1840 edn.

Feedback form

Long version of this form.

Email me.

Upload additions and corrections to this site:
Upload a file (e.g. a picture):
Your email address:
Enter this password:

Donation Drive: Please donate to support this site.
I have spent a great deal of time and money on this research. Research involves travel and many expenses.
Some research "things to do" are not done for years, because I do not have the money to do them.
Please Donate Here to support the ongoing research and to keep this website free.

Help      How to read the trees      Conventions      Abbreviations

Privacy policy      Adoption policy      Image re-use policy