PRICE, Sir Herbert, 1st Bt. (c.1605-78), of The Priory, Brecon and Whitehall.
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Family and Education
b. c.1605, 2nd s. of Thomas Price of The Priory by Anne, da. of William Rudhall of Rudhall, Herefs.; bro. of John Prise. educ. M. Temple 1622. m. Nov. 1638, Goditha, da. and coh. of Sir Henry Arden of Park Hall, Warws., 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da. cr. Bt. c. Oct. 1657.1
Capt. of ft. 1627; maj. of horse 1639, lt-col. 1640, col. (royalist) 1642-6; gov. of Hereford 1643, Brecon 1645.2
Sewer to Queen Henrietta Maria 1632-44, May 1660-1; master of the Household 1661-5, 1666-d.3
J.p. Brec. July 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Brec. Aug. 1660-d., Warws. 1661-d., dep. lt. Brec. ?1661-d.; commr. for loyal and indigent officers, London, Westminster and Brec. 1662.
Price’s father settled on him much of his Welsh property, valued at £300 p.a., and he became a courtier. Entering the service of Henrietta Maria, he married one of her maids of honour, who brought him further property in the Midlands. An active Cavalier, he fought at Naseby, and went into exile at the end of the Civil War. In 1649 composition proceedings were initiated on his behalf, but nothing came of them and his estate was included in the third Act of Sale in 1652. Clarendon described him as much trusted by the 1st Earl of Rochester (Henry Wilmot). His fidelity to the royal cause was beyond suspicion, but he was ‘of a very inquisitive nature’, and ‘his presumption and importunity were always inconvenient’. These qualities, however, together with the queen mother’s support earned him the promise of the mastership of the Household in 1655, and he was apparently created a baronet at the same time as Sir Henry Wood, though he did not use the title during the Interregnum. He returned to England after Rochester’s death, though he paid a brief visit to the Continent in 1659. At the Restoration he received a crown lease of some property in East Smithfield.4
Price stood for both borough and county at the general election in 1661. It is doubtful whether he ever regained the Priory, but he probably enjoyed the support of Sir William Lewis, who had stood his friend when it was under sequestration, and of the Duke of Ormonde, who as lord steward was nominally head of the Household. The borough election was declared void, but Price was allowed to sit for Breconshire on the merits of the return, and the decision was later confirmed on the merits of the election. He was an inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was named to 45 committees, including those for the corporations and militia bills in the first session. He was much perturbed by Wood’s efforts to reform the Household in 1662. ‘He would have digged me up root and branch’, he complained to Ormonde, ‘but it was my good fortune that my old mistress was at hand, and interposed.’ He was reduced to board wages, and his kitchen account queried. ‘Whilst the Parliament sat’, he confessed, ‘I did use a little liberty for bread and wine ... when I was overcharged with company, which indeed I was very often.’ He was noted as a court dependant in 1664, but during the second Dutch war his place was again threatened in a renewed economy drive. Like his nephew Thomas Prise he was seldom out of debt, and required constant protection against his creditors. He became interested in the relief of poor prisoners, serving on a committee in 1665; but his position at Court was strengthened by the success of his daughter, ‘fat Price’, whose ample charms and compliant disposition made a conquest of the Duke of York. After a year’s suspension he was confirmed in office and his pension of £400 p.a. was renewed. He was appointed to the committees for the bills to provide for the widow and daughters of Sir Henry Williams in 1667. His was the first name on the committee for the bill to regulate the Brecon frieze and cotton manufactures in 1669. He was included in the opposition list of government supporters in 1671 and in the Paston list. He was described in Flagellum Parliamentarium as ‘master of the King’s Household; pays no debts; his son in the Guards, his daughter with the Queen’. It was reported in 1674 that Henry Bulkeley had offered him £4,000 for his place. In the same year he was appointed to the committee to prevent illegal imprisonment, and to that for hindering Papists from sitting in Parliament in the autumn session of 1675. He was listed as a court dependant, and marked ‘thrice vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list in 1677. He was buried in Westminster Abbey on 3 Feb. 1678, but posthumously included in the ‘unanimous club’ of government supporters. The Priory seems to have passed to Price’s cousin, John Jeffreys, and the title became extinct on the death of his son before the Revolution.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Leonard Naylor
- 1. Jones, Brec. ii. 139; Cooke, Herefs. iii. 165; CSP Dom. 1638-9, p. 103.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 287; 1639, pp. 207-8; 1640-1, p. 303; Birch Mem. (Cam. Soc. n.s. vii), 108; Symonds Diary, (Cam. Soc. lxxiv), 208, 242, 263; List of Officers Claiming (1663), p. 108.
- 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 219, 256; Eg. 1048, f. 187; CSP Dom. 1666-7, pp. 254, 277.
- 4. Keeler, Long Parl. 314; Eg. 1048, f. 75; Cal. Comm. Comp. 2042-3; Clarendon, Rebellion, v. 387-8; Nicholas Pprs. (Cam. Soc. n.s. l), 157; CSP Dom. 1657-8, p. 300; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 45, 337, 407; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 320.
- 5. Eg. 1048, f. 75; Bodl. Carte 32, ff. 107, 110; 38, f. 229; Pepys Diary, 10 June 1666; CSP Dom. 1665-6, p. 109; Westminster Abbey Reg. (Harl. Soc. x), 193.