Anne Herbert: A life in the Wars of the Roses


By Ian Dawson, published 25th April 2014

May I introduce you to Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke? I'm very fond of this modern imagined portrait by Graham Turner, partly because of the colour and detail but chiefly because it conveys a respect for the people who lived in the past and especially for Anne herself. My interest in Anne began some years ago when planning a still unwritten novel on the experiences of people who lived through the Wars of the Roses. Seeking characters whose lives spanned the wars I discovered Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers and his sister Anne (c.1433-late 1480s) who married William Herbert, one of Edward IV's leading supporters, and lived most of her life at Raglan castle in Monmouthshire.

Finding out about individual fifteenth-century women in any depth is very difficult unless they're queens or those letter-writing Paston women. I started my search for Anne in monographs and articles and began finding scattered references which took me into printed primary sources and two research theses on William Herbert and his estates. I was surprised by how many fragments of information appeared - but does this evidence create a detailed portrait of Anne? Read on to find out...

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