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The Berkeley family is an ancient English noble family. It is one of only four families in England that can trace its patrilineal descent back to Anglo-Saxon times (the other three being the Arden family, the Swinton family and the Wentworth family).The Berkeley family retains possession of much of the lands it held from the 11th and 12th centuries, centred on Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, which still belongs to the family.
The Berkeley family descends in the male line from Robert Fitzharding (d. 1170), 1st feudal baron of Berkeley, Gloucestershire, reputedly the son of Harding of Bristol, the son of Eadnoth the Constable (Alnod), a high official under King Edward the Confessor.
Berkeley Castle, the caput of the barony, and the adjoining town of Berkeley are located in the county of Gloucestershire and are situated about five miles west of Dursley and eighteen miles southwest of Gloucester, and northeast of Bristol. The location has conferred various titles on the family over the centuries, including Baron Berkeley (barony by writ), Earl of Berkeley, and Marquess of Berkeley.
The royal manor of Berkeley was originally granted by William the Conqueror to the Norman Roger de Berkeley under the feudal tenure of fee-farm. However, the royal manor was privatized by King Henry II (1154–1189) shortly before he became king. Most of the manor was then re-granted to his supporter and financier the Anglo-Saxon Robert Fitzharding (d. 1170), of Bristol, as a feudal barony. A second barony was also created for the original family who retained their own lands within Berkeley manor as the barony of Dursley.
Shortly afterwards, under the encouragement of Henry II, who had clearly regretted the effect of his dispossession of Roger, the two families were contracted to the intermarriage of the eldest son and heir of each to the other's eldest daughter.Though only the marriage of Maurice FitzHarding and Alice de Berkeley was completed, the heirs of Robert Fitzharding thus adopted the surname "de Berkeley" and established this line as the feudal barons of Berkeley Castle.
Both lines of Berkeleys therefore originated as cousins, but it was the line of the feudal barons of Berkeley, descended from Fitzharding in the male line, which was the more powerful. By both fair means and foul, they acquired the superiority of all the lands in Berkeley in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and would go on to play a prominent role in British history in the next several centuries. The original family became extinct in England, but the Scottish Clan Barclay are descended in the male line from the original family.
This descends from Sir Maurice Berkeley (by 1514–81), a politician who rose rapidly in the Tudor court. He came from the Berkeleys of Stoke Gifford, a cadet branch of the main Berkeley family, as a descendant of Sir Maurice de Berkeley (14th century), younger son of Maurice de Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley. This Sir Maurice, before being killed at the Siege of Calais in 1347, had acquired Stoke Gifford in 1337, and founded the line of Berkeley of Stoke Gifford.
By now a remote cousin of the main line, in his career the Tudor Sir Maurice's initial advantage was his mother's second marriage to Sir John FitzJames, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, 1526–1539. By 1538 this had brought him into the household of Thomas Cromwell, from which he passed into the royal household by 1539.He built a house on the site of Bruton Priory, a spoil of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, incorporating some of the buildings, but this was demolished in 1786. His "Bruton branch" of the family produced a number of notable figures until the 18th century, including five Barons Berkeley of Stratton (extinct in 1773), and four Viscount Fitzhardinges (extinct in 1712), as well as William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia. Berkeley Square in London derives its name from this branch.
Berkeley Castle is a castle in the town of Berkeley, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. The castle's origins date back to the 11th century, and it has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building.
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.
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.
Stoke Gifford is a village and parish in South Gloucestershire, England, in the northern suburbs of Bristol. It had around 11,000 residents at the 2001 census, increasing to 15,494 at the 2011 census. It is home to Bristol Parkway station and Stoke Gifford depot, on the London-South Wales railway line, and the Bristol offices of Aviva which took over Friends Life in 2015, Hewlett Packard and the University of the West of England. The parish includes neighbouring Little Stoke, Harry Stoke and Stoke Park. The parish borders Filton, to the south-west, Patchway to the north west, Bradley Stoke to the north and Winterbourne and Hambrook to the east. To the south Stoke Gifford is served by the Bristol Ring Road, south of this a large green area known as the 'Green Lung' stretches to the inner city area of St Werburghs.
A feudal baron is a vassal holding a heritable fief called a barony, comprising a specific portion of land, granted by an overlord in return for allegiance and service. Following the end of European feudalism, feudal baronies have largely been superseded by baronies held as a rank of nobility, without any attachment to a fief. However, in Scotland, the feudal dignity of baron remains in existence, and may be bought and sold independently of the land to which it was formerly attached.
Norborne Berkeley, 4th Baron Botetourt, was a British courtier, member of parliament, and royal governor of the colony of Virginia from 1768 until his death in 1770.
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.
Kingswood Abbey was a Cistercian abbey, located in the village of Kingswood near Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England. The abbey was demolished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and all that remains is the gatehouse, a Grade 1 listed building. Through the gatehouse arch are a few houses and the small village primary school of Kingswood.
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, 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 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.
Robert Fitzharding was an Anglo-Saxon nobleman from Bristol who was granted the feudal barony of Berkeley in Gloucestershire. He rebuilt Berkeley Castle, and founded the Berkeley family which still occupies it today. He was a wealthy Bristol merchant and a financier of the future King Henry II of England (1133-1189) in the period known as the Anarchy during which Henry's mother, the Empress Matilda (1102-1167), mounted repeated military challenges to King Stephen. Fitzharding founded St. Augustine's Abbey, which after the Reformation became Bristol Cathedral. Many members of the Berkeley family were buried within it, and some of their effigies survive there. As J. Horace Round asserted he was one of the very few Anglo-Saxon noblemen who managed to retain their noble status in Norman England and successfully integrate with the Norman nobility, if not the only one.
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".
Sir Richard Berkeley of Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire was MP for Gloucestershire in 1604. He had previously served as Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1564, and as Deputy Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1568. In 1595 he was appointed Lieutenant of the Tower of London. In 1599 he was appointed custodian of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, who was kept under house arrest at Essex House in London. He died in 1604, whilst serving as MP, and was buried in The Gaunts Chapel, Bristol, where exists an effigy of him, which chapel had been founded in 1220 by Maurice de Gaunt, a member of the Berkeley family.
William FitzHardinge Berkeley, 1st Earl FitzHardinge, known as The Lord Segrave between 1831 and 1841, was a British landowner and politician.
Sir Maurice Berkeley of Bruton in Somerset and of Berkeley House, Clerkenwell, Middlesex, served as Chief Banner Bearer of England to Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI and to Queen Elizabeth I, and rose rapidly in the Tudor court. He came from a cadet branch of the great Berkeley family of Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, but in his career his initial advantage was due to his mother's second marriage to Sir John FitzJames, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench 1526–1539, which by 1538 had brought him into the household of Thomas Cromwell, from which he passed into the royal household by 1539.
The historic manor of Iron Acton was a manor centred on the village of Iron Acton in Gloucestershire, England, situated about 9 miles (14 km) north-east of the centre of the City of Bristol. The manor house, known as Acton Court is a Tudor building which survives today, situated at some distance from the village and parish church of St Michael. It was long the principal seat of the prominent Poyntz family, lords of the manor, whose manorial chapel is contained within the parish church.
Baron St Maur was a barony created by writ in 1314 for the soldier Nicholas de St Maur, of Rode in Somerset.
Walter FitzOther. He was a feudal baron of Eton in Buckinghamshire and was Constable of Windsor Castle in Berkshire, a principal royal residence of King William the Conqueror, and was a tenant-in-chief of that king of 21 manors in the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Hampshire and Middlesex, as well as holding a further 17 manors as a mesne tenant in the same counties.
Maurice Berkeley, de jure 3rd Baron Berkeley, of Thornbury in Gloucestershire, Maurice the Lawyer, was an English nobleman.