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Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea PC (16 September 1810 – 2 August 1861) was an Englishmarker statesman.

Early life

He was the younger son of George Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke; his mother being the Russian noblewoman Countess Catherine Woronzoff (or Vorontsova), daughter of the Russian ambassador to St James's, Semyon Romanovich Vorontsov. Educated at Harrowmarker and Oriel College, Oxfordmarker, he made a reputation at the Oxford Unionmarker as a speaker.

Career

Herbert entered the House of Commonsmarker as Conservative member of Parliament for a division of Wiltshiremarker in 1832. Under Peel he held minor offices, and in 1845 was included in the cabinet as Secretary at War, and again held this office from 1852 to 1855, being responsible for the War Officemarker during the Crimean War, and again in 1859.

Herbert ran the Pembroke family estates, centred at Wilton Housemarker, Wiltshire, for most of his adult life. His elder half-brother, Robert Herbert, 12th Earl of Pembroke (1791–1862), had chosen to live in exile in Parismarker after a disastrous marriage in 1814 (annulled 1818) to a Sicilian princess, Ottavia Spinelli (1779–1857), widow of Prince Ercole Branciforte di Butera, and daughter of the Duke of Laurino, and a subsequent liaison with Alexina Gallot, which resulted in four illegitimate children.

It was Sidney Herbert who sent Florence Nightingale out to the Crimeamarker, and he led the movement for War Officemarker reform after the war. The hard work entailed caused a breakdown in his health, so that in July 1861, having been created a baron in the peerage of the United Kingdom, he had to resign office, and died on the 2nd of August 1861. His statue was placed in front of the War Office in Pall Mall, London.

Family

In the early 1840s, Herbert had an affair with the noted society beauty and author Caroline Norton, who was unable to get a divorce from an abusive husband, so that the relationship ended in 1846.

In 1846 Sidney Herbert married Elizabeth (b. Richmondmarker, 21 July 1822; d. Herbert House, London, 30 Oct 1911), only dau. of Lt.-Gen. Charles Ash à Court-Repington and niece of William à Court, 1st Baron Heytesbury. She was a philanthropist, author and translator, and a friend of Benjamin Disraeli, Cardinal Manning and Cardinal Vaughan. After her husband's death, Lady Herbert became an "ardent Ultramontane" Roman Catholic, along with their eldest daughter, Mary.

Sidney and Elizabeth Herbert had seven children:

  1. George Robert Charles Herbert (1850–1895), who succeeded in the title and later became the 13th Earl of Pembroke, and the barony is now merged in that earldom.
  2. Sidney Herbert (1853–1913), also a Member of Parliament, who succeeded his brother as the 14th Earl of Pembroke.
  3. William Reginald Herbert, b. 1854, lost at sea aboard HMS Captain , aged 17.
  4. Michael Henry Herbert (The Hon. Sir Michael Herbert, KCMG, CB, PC) (1857–1904), a diplomat who ended his career as British Ambassador to the USAmarker in Washington DCmarker in succession to Lord Pauncefote, after whom the town of Herbertmarker in Saskatchewanmarker, Canadamarker, is named. He m. 1888 Lelia ('Belle'), daughter of Richard Thornton Wilson, Sr., a New York banker and cotton broker, and had (with one other son) Sir Sidney Herbert, 1st Baronet.
  5. Mary Catherine (1849–1935), who m. 1873 the great modernist theologian, Baron (Freiherr) Friedrich von Hügel.
  6. Elizabeth Maud (1851–1933), who m. 1872 the composer, Sir Charles Hubert Parry, 1st Baronet (son of Thomas Gambier Parry), of Highnammarker Court, near Gloucestermarker.
  7. (Constance) Gladwys (1859–1917), who m. 1st 1878 St.George Henry Lowther, 4th Earl of Lonsdale (issue, 1 daughter) and m. 2ndly 1885 Frederick Oliver Robinson, the Earl de Grey, later 2nd and last Marquess of Ripon (no issue).


Sidney Herbert is buried in the church at Wiltonmarker, rebuilt by him in neo-Romanesque style, with a marble monumental effigy of him beside Elizabeth, his wife (who, however, was buried at St Joseph's Missionary College, Mill Hillmarker, where she was a notable patron).

Herbert Soundmarker in the Antarctic and Pembroke, Ontariomarker in Canada are named after Sidney Herbert.

See also



Sources

  • Sir Tresham Lever, The Herberts of Wilton (Murray, 1967)
  • Burke's Peerage, 107th edition



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