Mervyn Herbert

The Honourable Mervyn Robert Howard Molyneux Herbert (27 December 1882 – 26 May 1929) of Tetton, Kingston St Mary[1] in Somerset, was a career diplomat and a first-class cricket player.

Mervyn Herbert
Personal information
Full nameMervyn Robert Howard Molyneux Herbert
Born(1882-12-27)27 December 1882
Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England
Died26 May 1929(1929-05-26) (aged 46)
Rome, Italy
RelationsHenry Howard (grandfather)
Domestic team information
1902–04Oxford University
First-class debut1 May 1901 Nottinghamshire v Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)
Last First-class30 May 1924 Somerset v Cambridge University
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 42
Runs scored 854
Batting average 12.02
100s/50s –/3
Top score 78
Balls bowled 18
Bowling average
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling 0/28
Catches/stumpings 18/–
Source: CricketArchive, 19 June 2010


Herbert was born at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, the third son of Henry Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon, a wealthy landowner, British cabinet minister, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. His mother (his father's second wife and cousin) was Elizabeth Catherine Howard (1856-1929[2]) ("Elsie"), a daughter of Henry Howard of Greystoke Castle, near Penrith, Cumberland, a son of Lord Henry Howard-Molyneux-Howard, younger brother of Bernard Howard, 12th Duke of Norfolk. Elizabeth Howard's brother was Esmé Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Penrith.

Herbert was a younger full brother of the writer and politician Aubrey Herbert and was a younger half-brother of George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, the noted Egyptologist who in 1922, together with Howard Carter, discovered Tutankhamen's tomb. [3]

Personal life

He was educated at Eton College and at Balliol College, Oxford.[3]

In 1921 he married Mary Elizabeth Willard, a daughter of Joseph E. Willard, the US ambassador to Spain, and younger sister of Kermit Roosevelt, son of the former US president Theodore.[4][5] By whom he had three children.

Cricket career

Herbert was a right-handed middle-order batsman. He played for Eton in the 1901 Eton v Harrow cricket match at Lord's, and in a house match at Eton that season he and George Lyttelton put on 476 for the second wicket, both scoring double centuries.[6] In the same year, he made the first of six appearances in first-class cricket for Nottinghamshire, starting off with an innings of 65 in a match against the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at Lord's.[7]

Though Herbert played occasional matches for Oxford University he was not selected as a blue, and from 1903 most of his first-class cricket was for Somerset. Only in 1909 was he able to play at all regularly and in that season he made his highest first-class score, 78, in the match against Middlesex at Lord's.[8] He also played an innings of 55 in 1909, batting at No 9 and sharing an eighth wicket partnership of 125 with Talbot Lewis that enabled Somerset to save the match against Kent, the 1909 County Champions, after following on.[9] He did not play at all after 1912 until he reappeared in one match in each of the 1922, 1923 and 1924 seasons.[10]

Diplomatic career

Herbert was appointed as an attache in the Foreign Office in 1907.[11] He became a third secretary in the Diplomatic Service in 1910.[12] In 1916 he was further promoted to become a second secretary.[13] And then in 1919 he became a first secretary.[14] He served in embassies and delegations in Rome, Lisbon, Madrid and Cairo, and was first secretary in Madrid up to 1922, returning to a Whitehall job in the Foreign Office between 1924 and 1926.[15]


He was reported in the New York Times as having died at the British Embassy in Rome of "malarial pneumonia".[16] The Times of London reported that he was passing through Rome on his way home from Albania, where his family had extensive interests, and caught malaria that turned to pneumonia.[17]


  2. Per inscribed brass tablet in Brushford Church
  3. Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition. 1. p. 699.
  4. "Ancestry and Descendants of Major Simon Willard". My Genealogy – Personal Ancestry site. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  5. Elizabeth Herbert is cited as Belle Roosevelt's sister in "Kermit and Belle Roosevelt Papers". Library of Congress. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  6. "Deaths in 1929". Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (1930 ed.). Wisden. p. 253.
  7. "Scorecard: Marylebone Cricket Club v Nottinghamshire". 1 May 1901. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  8. "Scorecard: Middlesex v Somerset". 22 July 1909. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  9. "Scorecard: Somerset v Kent". 12 August 1909. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  10. "First-class Matches played by Mervyn Herbert". Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  11. "No. 28065". The London Gazette. 1 October 1907. p. 6588.
  12. "No. 28356". The London Gazette. 12 April 1910. p. 2489.
  13. "No. 29822". The London Gazette. 14 November 1916. p. 10965.
  14. "No. 31646". The London Gazette. 18 November 1919. p. 13909.
  15. "Mervyn Herbert deposition at St Antony's College, Oxford" (PDF). Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  16. Abstract only referenced: full text available for a fee. "Mervyn Herbert, Diplomat, is Dead". New York Times. 28 May 1929. p. 25. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  17. "Obituaries: Mr Mervyn Herbert". The Times (45213). London. 27 May 1929. p. 16.
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