A younger son of Henry Herbert, first earl of Carnarvon, William Herbert studied at Eton (1790-95) before matriculating at Christ Church, Oxford (B.A. Exeter 1798; M.A. Merton, 1802, B.C.L. 1808, B.D. 1840). He was MP for Hampshire (1806-07) and Cricklade (1811-12) before taking orders in 1814. Herbert served as Rector of Spofforth in Yorkshire and as Dean of Manchester (1840). He had a considerable reputation as a linguist and naturalist.
Musae etonenses, ed. Herbert. 3 vols, 1795.
Ossiani Darthula Graecae reddita. 1801.
Select Icelandic poetry, translated from the originals. 1804; 1806.
Translations from the German, Danish, &c. 1804.
Miscellaneous poetry. 2 vols, 1806.
Helga: a poem in seven cantos. 1815.
Hedin: or the spectre of the tomb, from the Danish history. 1820.
Pia della Pietra. 1820.
The Guahiba: a tale. 1822.
The wierd Wanderer of Jutland: a tragedy. 1822.
A letter to the chairman of the Committee of the House of Commons, on the game laws. 1823.
Iris, a Latin ode. 1826.
The Rhine. Translated from the Latin prize poem [of W. Herbert]. 1831.
Amaryllidaceae: preceded by an attempt to arrange the monocotyledonous orders. 1837.
Attila, king of the Huns. 1838.
Five odes, translated from the Greek of Pindar. 1843.
Sylvae recentiores. 1845.
The Christian. 1846.
Correspondence between the Dean of Manchester and the Principal of Brasen-nose College, Oxford. 1846.
Works. 3 vols, 1842; supplement, 1846.
A History of the species of crocus. 1847.