Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke

The Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery
Thomas Herbert by John Greenhill
8th President of the Royal Society
In office
Preceded byJohn Vaughan
Succeeded byRobert Southwell
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
MonarchsWilliam III and Mary II
Preceded byThe Earl of Torrington
Succeeded byThe Lord Cornwallis
Lord Privy Seal
In office
Preceded byIn Commission
Last held by Lord Halifax
Succeeded byThe Viscount Lonsdale
Lord President of the Council
In office
18 May 1699 – 29 January 1702
MonarchWilliam III
Preceded byThe Duke of Leeds
Succeeded byThe Duke of Somerset
In office
9 July 1702 – 25 November 1708
Preceded byThe Duke of Somerset
Succeeded byThe Lord Somers
Personal details
Born1656 (1656)
Died22 January 1733(1733-01-22) (aged 76–77)
  • Margaret Sawyer
    (m. 1684)
  • (m. 1708; died 1721)
  • Mary Howe

Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke and 5th Earl of Montgomery, KG, PC, PRS (c. 1656 – 22 January 1733), styled The Honourable Thomas Herbert until 1683, was an English and later British statesman during the reigns of William III and Anne.


Herbert was the third son of Philip Herbert, 5th Earl of Pembroke and his wife Catharine Villiers, daughter of Sir William Villiers, 1st Baronet who was the half-brother of the 1st Duke of Buckingham, George Villiers. Through his grandmother, Susan de Vere, he was a great-grandson of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, the Oxfordians' William Shakespeare. He was educated at Tonbridge School, Kent. Both of his brothers (the 6th Earl and the 7th Earl) having died without a male heir, he succeeded to the earldoms in 1683. Through them, he would inherit the family seat of the Earls of Pembroke, Wilton House in Wiltshire.

Wilton House, Family seat of the Earls of Pembroke

Public life

Herbert was returned unopposed as Member of Parliament for Wilton at the two general elections of 1679 and the general election of 1681. He was no longer able to sit in the House of Commons after assuming the peerage in 1683. From 1690 to 1692 as Lord Pembroke, he was First Lord of the Admiralty. He then served as Lord Privy Seal until 1699, being in 1697 the first plenipotentiary of Great Britain at the congress of Ryswick. On two occasions he was Lord High Admiral for a short period; he was also Lord President of the Council and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, while he acted as one of the Lords Justices seven times; and he was President of the Royal Society in 1689–1690. He is the dedicatee of John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Greenhill's The Art of Embalming.

Marriages and progeny

He married three times:

See also

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