Battle of Nibley Green

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Battle of Nibley Green
NorthNibleyFromTyndaleMon.jpg
View towards NW from the top of the Tyndale Monument on Nibley Knoll. A mile beyond the church of North Nibley in the foreground is Nibley Green. 4 miles NW into the distance is Berkeley Castle, with the River Severn visible 2 miles beyond. Wotton-under-Edge lies 1 mile behind the viewing position
Date20 March 1470
Location
Result Berkeley victory
Belligerents
Retainers of Viscount Lisle Retainers and friends of Lord Berkeley
Commanders and leaders
Talbot arms.svg Thomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle   Berkeley arms.svg William Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley
Strength
1,000 [1] 1,000 [1]

The Battle of Nibley Green was fought near North Nibley in Gloucestershire on 20 March 1470, [2] between the troops of Thomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle and William Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley. It is notable for being the last battle fought in England entirely between the private armies of feudal magnates.

Contents

Prelude

Lisle and Berkeley had long been engaged in a dispute over the inheritance of Berkeley Castle and the other Berkeley lands, [3] Lisle being heir-general to Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley and Berkeley heir-male. Lisle impetuously challenged Berkeley to a battle, and the latter agreed, the battle to be fought the next day at Nibley Green. Lisle paid for his rashness with his life.

In the little time available, Lisle could only raise a force among his ill-equipped local tenants. Berkeley, however, could draw upon a garrison from Berkeley Castle as well as his local levies, and he was reinforced by men led by his brother Maurice Berkeley, 3rd Baron Berkeley and miners from the Forest of Dean. This gave him a considerable advantage in numbers, about 1,000 to 300. Philip Mede of Wraxall, an alderman and mayor of Bristol in 1459, 1462, and 1469, [4] sent some men on the Berkeley side. Maurice Berkeley, William's younger brother, had married Isabel Mede, Philip's daughter, for which act of marrying beneath his social status he had been disinherited of the Berkeley lands by his elder brother, William. [5]

Battle

Lisle led his men in a charge against Berkeley's troops as they emerged from a stand of woods. Berkeley's archers loosed arrows and broke up the charge. One of the Dean Foresters, an archer named "Black Will", shot Lisle in the left temple through his open visor and unhorsed him. A few dagger-strokes from the archers ensured Lisle's death, [6] and his leaderless army broke and fled.

Aftermath

As Lisle's army dispersed, Berkeley advanced to Lisle's manor of Wotton-under-Edge and sacked it.

Further reading

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Baron Berkeley Title in the Peerage of England

The title Baron Berkeley originated as a feudal title and was subsequently created twice in the Peerage of England by writ. It was first granted by writ to Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley (1245–1321), 6th feudal Baron Berkeley, in 1295, but the title of that creation became extinct at the death of his great-great-grandson, the fifth Baron by writ, when no male heirs to the barony by writ remained, although the feudal barony continued. The next creation by writ was in 1421, for the last baron's nephew and heir James Berkeley. His son and successor William was created Viscount Berkeley in 1481, Earl of Nottingham in 1483, and Marquess of Berkeley in 1488. He had no surviving male issue, so the Marquessate and his other non-inherited titles became extinct on his death in 1491, whilst the barony passed de jure to his younger brother Maurice. However William had disinherited Maurice because he considered him to have brought shame on the noble House of Berkeley by marrying beneath his status to Isabel, daughter of Philip Mead of Wraxhall, an Alderman and Mayor of Bristol. Instead he bequeathed the castle, lands and lordships comprising the Barony of Berkeley to King Henry VII and his heirs male, failing which to descend to William's own rightful heirs. Thus on the death of King Edward VI in 1553, Henry VII's unmarried grandson, the Berkeley inheritance returned to the family. Therefore, Maurice and his descendants from 1492 to 1553 were de jure barons only, until the return of the title to the senior heir Henry, becoming de facto 7th Baron in 1553. Upon his death he was succeeded by his relative George Harding.

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The title of Viscount Lisle has been created six times in the Peerage of England. The first creation, on 30 October 1451, was for John Talbot, 1st Baron Lisle. Upon the death of his son Thomas at the Battle of Nibley Green in 1470, the viscountcy became extinct and the barony abeyant.

William de Berkeley, 1st Marquess of Berkeley

William de Berkeley, 1st Marquess of Berkeley was an English peer, given the epithet "The Waste-All" by the family biographer and steward John Smyth of Nibley. He was buried at "St. Augustine's Friars, London" according to one source, but most likely in the Berkeley family foundation of St Augustine's Abbey, Bristol.

John Talbot, 1st Baron Lisle and 1st Viscount Lisle, English nobleman and medieval soldier, was the son of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, and his second wife Margaret Beauchamp.

Thomas Talbot, 2nd Baron Lisle and 2nd Viscount Lisle, English nobleman, was the son of John Talbot, 1st Viscount Lisle and Joan Cheddar.

Baron Berkeley of Stratton

Baron Berkeley of Stratton, in the County of Cornwall, was a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1658 for John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton, a Royalist during the Civil War who had distinguished himself at the Battle of Stratton, fought in 1643 at Stratton in Cornwall. He was a member of the Berkeley family of Bruton in Somerset, descended from Sir Maurice de Berkeley, a younger son of Maurice de Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley (1271–1326) of Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, the senior line of the Berkeley family. His brother was Charles Berkeley, 2nd Viscount Fitzhardinge and his nephew was Charles Berkeley, 1st Earl of Falmouth. The 1st Baron's second son, the 3rd Baron, was an Admiral in the Royal Navy who died without surviving issue and was succeeded by his younger brother, the 4th Baron, who served as First Lord of Trade between 1714 and 1715.

Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley

Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley, The Wise, feudal baron of Berkeley, of Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England, was a peer, soldier and diplomat. His epithet, and that of each previous and subsequent head of his family, was coined by John Smyth of Nibley (d.1641), steward of the Berkeley estates, the biographer of the family and author of "Lives of the Berkeleys".

Maurice de Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley

Maurice de Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley, The Magnanimous, feudal baron of Berkeley, of Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England, was a peer. He rebelled against King Edward II and the Despencers. His epithet, and that of each previous and subsequent head of his family, was coined by John Smyth of Nibley, steward of the Berkeley estates, the biographer of the family and author of Lives of the Berkeleys.

St Marks Church, Bristol

St Mark's Church is an ancient church on the north-east side of College Green, Bristol, England, built c. 1230. Better known to mediaeval and Tudor historians as the Gaunt's Chapel, it has also been known within Bristol since 1722 as the Lord Mayor's Chapel. It is one of only two churches in England privately owned and used for worship by a city corporation. The other is St Lawrence Jewry, London. It stands opposite St Augustine's Abbey, founded by a member of the Berkeley family of nearby Berkeley Castle, from which it was originally separated by the Abbey's burial ground, now called College Green. It was built as the chapel to the adjacent Gaunt's Hospital, now demolished, founded in 1220. Except for the west front, the church has been enclosed by later adjacent buildings, although the tower is still visible. The church contains some fine late gothic features and a collection of continental stained glass. It is designated by Historic England as a grade I listed building.

Events from the 1470s in England.

Thomas de Berkeley, 3rd Baron Berkeley

Thomas de Berkeley, The Rich, feudal baron of Berkeley, of Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England, was a peer. His epithet, and that of each previous and subsequent head of his family, was coined by John Smyth of Nibley (d.1641), steward of the Berkeley estates, the biographer of the family and author of "Lives of the Berkeleys".

Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley

Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley, The Magnificent, of Berkeley Castle and of Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire, was an English peer and an admiral. His epithet, and that of each previous and subsequent head of his family, was coined by John Smyth of Nibley (d.1641), steward of the Berkeley estates, the biographer of the family and author of "Lives of the Berkeleys".

Maurice de Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley

Maurice de Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley, The Valiant, feudal baron of Berkeley, of Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, was an English peer. His epithet, and that of each previous and subsequent head of his family, was coined by John Smyth of Nibley, steward of the Berkeley estates, the biographer of the family and author of "Lives of the Berkeleys".

William Denys

Sir William Denys (1470–1533) of Dyrham, Gloucestershire, was a courtier of King Henry VIII and High Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1518 and 1526.

The Manor of Dyrham was a former manorial estate in the parish of Dyrham in South Gloucestershire, England.

Maurice Berkeley, 3rd Baron Berkeley

Maurice Berkeley, de jure 3rd Baron Berkeley, of Thornbury in Gloucestershire, Maurice the Lawyer, was an English nobleman.

Philip Mede

Philip Mede of Mede's Place in the parish of Wraxall in Somerset and of the parish of Saint Mary Redcliffe in Bristol, was a wealthy merchant at Bristol, then in Gloucestershire, and was twice elected a Member of Parliament for Bristol in 1459 and 1460, and was thrice Mayor of Bristol, in 1458-9, 1461-2 and 1468-9.

References

  1. 1 2 John Bellamy, Bastard Feudalism and the Law, (Routledge, 1989), 42.
  2. Modern historians date the battle in 1470. However, prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in England the start of the new year was 25 March; the battle being fought on 20 March meant it fell into the previous year, that is in 1469.
  3. Christine Carpenter, The Wars of the Roses:Politics and the Constitution in England, c.1437-1509, (Cambridge University Press, 1997), 175.
  4. "Mayors of Bristol since 1216". Bristol City Council. Archived from the original on 10 October 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  5. Debrett's Peerage, 1968, Berkeley, Baroness, precedents
  6. Michael Hicks, English Political Culture in the Fifteenth Century, (Routledge, 2002), 60.

Coordinates: 51°39′36″N2°23′55″W / 51.660°N 2.3985°W / 51.660; -2.3985