Mervyn Herbert

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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

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.


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]


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

Marriage & progeny[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Per inscribed brass tablet in Brushford Church
  3. ^ a b "Herbert". Retrieved 19 June 2010.[unreliable source]
  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.