Xmera / Gloucestershire Gentry / Berkeley of Stoke Gifford

Berkeley of Stoke Gifford

The Berkeleys of Stoke Gifford were descended from a younger son of Maurice, lord Berkeley (d. 1326).


Monument to Richard Berkeley (d. 1604), St Mark's, Bristol

Richard (1531 - 1604)

He was the son of Sir John Berkeley (d. 1545) and Isabel, daughter of Sir William Denys of Dyrham. His father was killed at sea in 1545, after which his mother married Arthur Porter of Llanthony. His half-sister Anne married Giles Codrington.

By 1559 he had become a JP and was a sheriff in 1564-5. In 1564 he purchased the manor of Rendcombe in the Churn valley, north of Cirencester. In 1569 he reputedly struck the then sheriff Sir Nicholas Poyntz in front of the assize judges and subsequently retired for a time to travel in Italy. Having returned to England, he was knighted in 1574. In 1590 he became a member of the council of Wales. In 1592 Elizabeth I stayed at Rendcombe for 2 days during her progress. In 1596-7 he was lieutenant of the Tower of London. In 1598 he dedicated the virulently anti-Catholic A Discourse of the Felicitie of Man to Elizabeth I. Shortly before his death in 1604 he was chosen to sit as MP for Gloucestershire.

He married:

  1. Elizabeth, daughter of William Rede of Mitton, Worcs. and Tewkesbury by 1559 by whom he had a large family of whom;
    • Henry (d. 1608) married Mirriell, daughter of Thomas Throckmorton of Coughton, Warws.
      • Richard - see below
      • Margaret married John Tomlinson of Bristol, merchant
      • Elizabeth (d. 1605) aged 22.
    • Although he survived his father by four years, Henry's 'melancholy humour' led Sir Richard to settle the estate on his grandson.

    • Robert, the youngest son and only one to survive his father, erected the monument at Stoke Gifford, 1662
    • Elizabeth married Sir Thomas Throckmorton
    • Mary married Sir John Hungerford of Down Ampney
    • Katherine married Rowland Lee of Longborough esq.
  2. Eleanor (d. 1629), daughter of Robert Jermy of Antingham, Norf. and widow of Robert Rowe (d. 1587), haberdasher of London
    By this marriage he became stepfather to the explorer and diplomat Sir Thomas Rowe/Roe and his sister Mary.
    As a widow Eleanor lived at Rendcombe.

Richard (c1580-1661) Grandson

He married by 1598 his half-sister Mary (d. 1615) Rowe:

After Elizabeth's death, he married Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Mariet of Remenham, Bucks. and widow of William Molyns of Sandall, Herts. and William Molyns of Mongewell, Oxon. He had no children by his second wife.

In 1619 he joined with John Smyth, Sir William Throckmorton and George Thorpe in sending a ship with 36 men to Virginia, intending to found a new town there. The venture ended in disaster with an Indian massacre in 1622.


Richard (d. 1671) Grandson

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Symes of Frampton Cotterell, Glos.


George (d. 1685) Son

He married Jane, daughter of Maurice Berkeley, viscount Fitzhardinge of Bruton, Som. in 1683.


John Symes (1663 - 1736) Brother

In 1695 he married Susan (d. 1696), daughter of Sir Thomas Fowle (1637-92), goldsmith and widow of Jonathan Cope (1664-94) of Ranton Abbey, Staffs. He was MP for Gloucestershire 1710-15. In 1717 he married Elizabeth (d. 1742), daughter. of Walter Norborne of Calne, Wilts.and widow of Edward Devereux, viscount Hereford.