Xmera / Gloucestershire Gentry / Lord Berkeley

Lord Berkeley

Berkeley Castle (c. 1708)

Maurice (d. 1506)

A younger son of James, lord Berkeley (d. 1463) and Isabel (d. 1452), daughter of Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, he inherited the barony on the death of his brother William, marquess Berkeley (d. 1491). William had alienated much of his inheritance, including Berkeley castle, in order to acquire and maintain his rank. Maurice spent much of the last 15 years of his life pursuing the restitution of property alienated by William. His comparative poverty meant that he was never recognised as a baron. He leased Yate Court to provide the family with an appropriate residence in Gloucestershire.

He married Isabel, daughter of Philip Mead of Wraxall, Som.

Maurice (1467-1523) Son

He had a successful military career, eventually becoming lieutenant of Calais castle. He married Katherine (d. 1525), daughter of Sir William Berkeley of Stoke Gifford. Having no children by his wife, he adopted his nephew Thomas as his heir. His will also made provision for an illegitimate son he fathered in Calais. He was called to parliament shortly before his death.

Thomas (1472-1532) Brother

He married Eleanor (d. 1526), daughter of Sir Marmaduke Constable of Flamborough, Yorks. and widow of John Ingilby of Ripley. His father and brother settled manors in Yorkshire inherited through his mother on him at the time of his marriage.

The family moved to Gloucestershire following the death of his brother James, when the manor of Mangotsfield was purchased from Sir Robert Dormer.

Following Eleanor's death he married Cicely (d. 1559), widow of Richard Rowdon of Gloucester and sister of John Arnold, steward to Gloucester Abbey.

Thomas (1505-34) Son

His early life was spent in Yorkshire, until he was adopted by his uncle and taken to Calais when the rest of his family moved to Gloucestershire. He entered the service of his kinsman (through his great-grandmother) Thomas, duke of Norfolk. A marriage was planned between him and Norfolk's daughter Katherine (d. 1529), but this never took place. Instead he married:

  1. Mary (d. 1533), daughter of George, lord Hastings
  2. Anne (d. 1564), daughter of John Savage of Clifton, Ches.
    • Henry - see below
    • Elizabeth (1533-82) married Thomas, earl of Ormond and went to live in Ireland. They had no children and separated, when she returned to live in Bristol.

He was a member of the Boleyn faction at court and his second marriage was reputedly instigated by the king and queen. He died before the birth of his son.

Henry (1534 - 1613) Son

He was born two months after the death of his father. On the death of Edward VI the property that William, marquess Berkeley had alienated to Henry VII and his male heirs, which included Berkeley castle, reverted to the Berkeleys.

He married Katherine (1539-96), daughter of Henry Howard, earl of Surrey and sister of Thomas, duke of Norfolk.

Having recovered Berkeley castle, he sold the remainder of the lease on Yate Court, but lived predominantly at Caludon castle, near Coventry. A lengthy lawsuit and extravagant living depleted his resouces and there were significant sales of land. After the death of Katherine he married Jane (c1547-1618), daughter of Sir Michael Stanhope of Shelford, Derbys. and widow of Sir Roger Townshend of Raynham, Norf. by whom she had two sons.

George (1601-58) Grandson

He was married as a child to Elizabeth (1604-69), daughter of Sir Michael Stanhope and niece of his grandfather's second wife. The marriage was not a happy one and he spend much of his adult life abroad, leaving the management of his estate to his mother, sister and wife.

George (1627-98) Grandson

He was adopted by his aunt and uncle and raised by them at Durdans, Surrey. In 1646 he married Elizabeth (d. 1708), the daughter of John Massingberd, treasurer of the East India Company. Following the example of his father-in-law he became involved in colonial trade and, assisted by the dynastic accident that made him heir of his father and his aunt, restored the family fortunes.

He served as MP for Gloucestershire during the Interregnum and in 1660 was one of the lords sent by parliament to accompany Charles II on his return to England. He was a member of the Royal Society from 1663 and served on its council. He joined Charles II's privy council during the Exclusion crisis and subsequently served James II in the same capacity. He was created Earl of Berkeley in 1679.

Lady Henrietta Berkeley

A further son James was baptised at St James, Clerkenwell 1 June 1663 and was buried there 27 December 1664.

Charles (1649-1710) Son

As MP for Gloucester (1679-81) he caused dismay by joining his brother-in-law Ford, lord Grey in supporting Exclusion. He served William II as plenipotentiary to the States of Holland (1689-95). He subsequently served as one of the Lords Justices and Governors of Ireland (1699-1700), when Jonathan Swift became his chaplain. He died of dropsy.

He married Elizabeth Noel, daughter of Baptist Noel, 3rd viscount Campdenby his third wife Hester Wotton.