Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.


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 3 July 1734, descendant of Edward III,
see 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.
Henry 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 apparently 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).

Affair with Kitty Hunter:
Henry had a brief affair in 1762 with Kitty Hunter [born probably 1740 or 1741, 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 was already pregnant and gave birth Nov 1762. The baby was baptised in Holland in Dec 1762. At some point she returned to England.
Henry and Kitty had illegitimate issue:

  1. Augustus Reebkomp (later Montgomery),
    illegitimate child, born 23 Nov 1762.
    Said to be born in England, but apparently not since bapt in Holland (where the lovers had gone to escape the scandal). Must be born in Holland.
    He was bapt 16 Dec 1762, at the village of Loenen, province of Utrecht, Holland. Listed as child of Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and Catherine Hunter.
    Baptism is recorded in records of St. Mary's Church, Rotterdam, Holland. Though Loenen is a long way from Rotterdam. See image from [NA.UK], General Register Office: Foreign Registers and Returns; Class: RG 33; Piece: 89.
    His surname is "Herbert" at baptism but they then settled on "Reebkomp" or "Repkombe", anagrams of "Pembroke". He is referred to in letters as "Reeb" or "Rep:".
    They also gave him a first name "Retnuh", which is "Hunter" backwards.
    "Retnuh Augustus Herbert" at baptism.
    "Augustus Retnuh Repkombe" in Eton College register.
    "Augustus Retnuh Reebkomp" or "Augustus Reebkomp" in Navy records until he changed to "Augustus Montgomery".

Henry returned to England Feb 1763 and was reconciled to his wife Mar 1763.
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.
Affair in Venice:
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.
He had illegitimate issue by her:

  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.
    She mar 1786 to Rev. John Williams.
    They lived at Dropmore Hill, Dropmore, Buckinghamshire (see map).
    The 1790 codicil of will of 10th Earl makes provision for her. He seems to call her "Carolina".
    In the 1793 codicil to his will, the 10th Earl explicitly says Mrs. Williams is his daughter. Though he calls her "Catherine".
    They had issue:

    1. Julia Williams.
      Mentioned in the 1793 codicil of will of 10th Earl.

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).
"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 1781.)
She and Henry ended up in separate quarters at Wilton (him downstairs, her upstairs).
Henry advanced to the rank of General in 1782.

Elizabeth leaves Henry:
Eventually Elizabeth 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 (at age 51) the embarrassment of his unwanted attentions.
See will of 10th Earl dated 26 May 1788. He leaves Wilton House and Pembroke House to his son George. At the start of the will he says he leaves £1000 to his wife and then immediately says he leaves £100 to his ex-lover Kitty Hunter. He then makes provision for his son by her, Augustus Montgomery. He then makes provision for a list of children, who may be further natural children of his.

Henry dies, 1794:
He died at Wilton, 26 Jan 1794, age 59 yrs.
He was bur Wilton parish church.
His will proved 21 March 1794, Prerogative Court of Canterbury.
Reebkomp died 1797.
Elizabeth suffered unwanted attentions of King sporadically until 1805 (her age 68).
She outlived her son the 11th Earl who died 1827.
She is listed as of Richmond Park at death.
She died 30 Apr 1831, age 94 yrs.
Her will proved 26 May 1831, Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

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.
See another copy.

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

Will of 10th Earl leaves £100 to Kitty Hunter.

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.


The Madness of King George


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 concert with the bell-ringers, and two later scenes with the Prince of Wales, are actually shot in the Double Cube Room at Wilton (with group portrait visible). Though it is not meant to be Wilton in the story.

Possible other natural children

This may be another natural child of the 10th Earl:
The baptism of Charles Henry Herbert, son of "Henry and Jane Berkepom", born 11 Jan 1767, bapt 7 Feb 1767, St Marylebone Church of England.
"Berkepom" is an anagram for "Pembroke".
See full size.

Will of 10th Earl sets up provision for a number of children.
Starting with this boy, apparently called George Bell, who was born 5 Oct 1773 and baptised 28 Oct 1773.
There are more children listed below him, including one in Naples.
Can they all be the 10th Earl's natural children?

Lost portrait

A portrait of the 10th Earl was inherited by his descendants the Gibbon family. Whereabouts now unknown.

Will of Arthur Augustus Gibbon (died 1907) mentions portrait of "Henry, Earl of Pembroke".
This would be "1 Lord Pembroke's Portrait" that was packed on a trip to the Continent by Arthur Gibbon in 1856.
The will here says it went to Monty Gibbon (died 1920).


AI animations

AI animations of old portraits.
Made using Deep Nostalgia at MyHeritage.

AI animation of portrait of 10th Earl of Pembroke, Colonnade Room, Wilton House.

AI animation of portrait of Kitty Hunter.


Sources yet to be consulted


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