Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley

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Monumental brass of Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley and his wife Margaret de Lisle, Wotton-under-Edge Church, Gloucestershire BerkeleyBrassCropped.jpg
Monumental brass of Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley and his wife Margaret de Lisle, Wotton-under-Edge Church, Gloucestershire
Arms of Berkeley: Gules, a chevron between ten crosses pattee six in chief and four in base argent Berkeley arms.svg
Arms of Berkeley: Gules, a chevron between ten crosses pattée six in chief and four in base argent
Drawing of detail of mermaid livery collar of Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley (d.1417), from his monumental brass at Wotton-under-Edge. It is believed to refer to his career as an admiral. BerkeleyMermaidCollar 1417 WottonUnderEdge Gloucestershire.jpg
Drawing of detail of mermaid livery collar of Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley (d.1417), from his monumental brass at Wotton-under-Edge. It is believed to refer to his career as an admiral.
Seals of Thomas Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley (d.1417), two with mermaid supporters, used at successive times of his life Seals ThomasBerkeley 5thBaronBerkeley Died1417.png
Seals of Thomas Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley (d.1417), two with mermaid supporters, used at successive times of his life

Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley (5 January 1352/53 – 13 July 1417), 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".

Berkeley Castle castle in the town of Berkeley, Gloucestershire, UK

Berkeley Castle is a castle in the town of Berkeley, Gloucestershire, UK. The castle's origins date back to the 11th century and it has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building.

Wotton-under-Edge market town within the Stroud district of Gloucestershire, England

Wotton-under-Edge is a market town within the Stroud district of Gloucestershire, England. Located near the southern end of the Cotswolds, the Cotswold Way long-distance footpath passes through the town. Standing on the B4058 Wotton is about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the M5 motorway. The nearest railway station is Cam and Dursley, 7 miles (11 km) away by road, on the Bristol to Birmingham line.

An epithet is a byname, or a descriptive term, accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It can also be a descriptive title: for example, Pallas Athena, Alfred the Great, Suleiman the Magnificent or Władysław I the Elbow-high.

Contents

Origins

He was born at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, the son and heir of Maurice de Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley by his wife Elizabeth le Despencer.

Maurice de Berkeley, 4th Baron 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".

Elizabeth le Despenser was an English noblewoman. She was the youngest daughter of Hugh le Despenser the younger and his wife Eleanor de Clare. Her father is famous for being the favourite of Edward II of England, and being executed as a result of his position and actions. Through her mother, Elizabeth was a great granddaughter of King Edward I of England.

Transfers estate to trustees

In 1417 he enfeoffed at Berkeley Castle, shortly before his death, several feoffees to hold all his lands in trust, due to the fact he had no male children as his heirs and that the course of succession then seemed unclear. The catalogue entry made by the British Museum librarian Isaac Jeaves for charter number 581 preserved in the muniments at Berkeley Castle records: [3]

"Feoffment by Thomas, Lord Berkeley, Knt, to Walter Poole, Gilbert Denys Knts, Thomas Knolles, citizen of London, Thomas Rugge, John Grevell, Robert Greyndour and Thomas Sergeant, esquires, of all the lands, reversions, and tenants' services in Berkeley, Wotton, Gloucester, South Cerney, Cerneyeswike, Aure, Arlingham, and Horton, and in Berkeley and Bledislow Hundreds; in the City of London; in Portbury, Portishead, Weston, Bedminster, and in Bedminster and Portbury Hundreds, co. Somerset, and in Sharnecote and Chicklade, co. Wiltshire, together with the advowsons of St. Andrew's Church in Baynard's Castle, London, the advowsons of Chicklade, Portishead, and Walton, and the patronage and advowson of St. Mary's Abbey of Kingswood. Witnesses: Thomas FitzNicoll, John Pauncefoot, Knights; Robert Poyntz, Edmund Bassett, Thomas Kendale. Datum ad Berkeley, Thursday, Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (24 June) 5 Hen. V. (1417) Withseal,broken)"

The great City of London townhouse of the Berkeleys, known as "Berkeley's Inn", was at Puddle Dock by Baynard's Castle, close to the Blackfriars Monastery. Thomas FitzNicholl, one of the witnesses, was many times MP for Gloucestershire, including in 1395 when he served jointly with Gilbert Denys. Nigel Saul states that such feoffees were likely to have been members of Lord Berkeley's retinue. [4] These were very significant positions of trust granted to his feoffees as Berkeley died leaving only a daughter and the succession to the vast Berkeley lands, including the castle itself, became a matter of much dispute amongst his possible heirs resulting in a series of feuds which led in 1470 to the last private battle fought on English soil at the Battle of Nibley Green, between Lord William Berkeley and Viscount Lisle, and there followed the longest dispute in English legal history, which did not end until 1609.

City of London City and county in United Kingdom

The City of London is a city and county that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London; however, the City of London is not a London borough, a status reserved for the other 32 districts. It is also a separate county of England, being an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It is the smallest county in the United Kingdom.

Townhouse type of medium-density house

A townhouse, townhome, or town house as used in North America, Asia, Australia, South Africa and parts of Europe, is a type of terraced housing. A modern town house is often one with a small footprint on multiple floors. In British usage, the term originally referred to the city residence of someone whose main or largest residence was a country house.

Puddle Dock street in Blackfriars in the City of London

Puddle Dock, in Blackfriars in the City of London, was formerly the site of one of London's docks. It is now a minor street and the site of the Mermaid Theatre which closed in 2003.

Marriage

Arms of Lisle of Kingston Lisle: Gules, a lion statant guardant argent crowned or LisleOfKingstonLisleArms.PNG
Arms of Lisle of Kingston Lisle: Gules, a lion statant guardant argent crowned or

In 1367 Thomas married Margaret de Lisle, 3rd Baroness Lisle (1360–1392), daughter of Warine de Lisle, 2nd Baron Lisle (d.1382) and Margaret Pipard. By his wife he had no male progeny, only a daughter and sole heiress:

Baron Lisle was a title that was created five times in the Peerage of England during the Middle Ages and Tudor period. The earliest creation was for the family of Lisle of Rougemont, which bore arms: Or, a fess between two chevrons sable. The later creation of 1357 was for Lisle of Kingston Lisle, a younger branch of the Lisles of Rougemont. Robert de Lisle of Rougemont married Alice FitzGerold, the heiress of Kingston in the parish of Sparsholt, Berkshire. In 1269 Alice granted the manor of Kingston to her younger son Gerard I de Lisle, whose family adopted the arms of FitzGerold: Gules, a lion statant guardant argent crowned or. Gerard I's grandson was Gerard II de Lisle (1305–1360), created Baron Lisle in 1357.

Death and burial

He died on 13 July 1417 and was buried in the Church of St Mary the Virgin church within his manor of Wotton-under-Edge. His very large chest tomb with Monumental brass on top survives in that church. [5] The brass shows him lying beside his wife, and is very similar to that of his contemporary Sir Maurice Russell (d.1416) at Dyrham, who was the father-in-law of Gilbert Denys, one of Berkeley's feoffees.

Succession

Having died without male progeny the succession to the vast Berkeley estates became disputed, and eventually resulted in the Battle of Nibley Green (1469/70), the last battle fought in England entirely between the private armies of feudal magnates, fought near Berkeley Castle on 20 March 1469/70 between the troops of Thomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle and William Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley, later 1st Marquess of Berkeley. Lisle and William Berkeley had long been engaged in a dispute over the inheritance of Berkeley Castle and the other Berkeley lands, [6] as Lisle being heir-general to Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley and was the 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 was defeated.

Ancestors

Sources

Related Research Articles

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.

William de Berkeley, 1st Marquess of Berkeley English peer

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.

Richard FitzRoy 13th-century illegitimate son of King John

Richard FitzRoy was the illegitimate son of King John of England and was feudal baron of Chilham, in Kent. His mother was Adela, his father's cousin and a daughter of Hamelin de Warenne by his wife Isabel de Warenne, 4th Countess of Surrey.

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.

Margaret Beauchamp was the eldest daughter of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and his first wife Elizabeth de Berkeley. As the eldest child of a family without male issue, Margaret was expected to inherit from her father until her stepmother Isabel le Despenser gave him a son.

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

Battle of Nibley Green

The Battle of Nibley Green was fought on 20 March 1469, 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.

Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley English baron and diplomat

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".

Robert Fitzharding Lord of Berkeley

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.

Elizabeth de Berkeley, Countess of Warwick and Baroness Lisle, was an English noblewoman and heiress. She was the only child of Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley, and Margaret de Lisle, 3rd Baroness Lisle.

Gilbert Denys Member of the Parliament of England

Sir Gilbert Denys of Siston, Gloucestershire, was a soldier, and later an administrator. He was knighted by January 1385, and was twice knight of the shire for Gloucestershire constituency, in 1390 and 1395 and served as Sheriff of Gloucestershire 1393-4. He founded the family which provided more Sheriffs of Gloucestershire than any other.

Maurice Russell, knight Knight of the Shire for Gloucestershire in 1402 and 1404, and four times High Sheriff of Gloucestershire

Sir Maurice Russell of Kingston Russell, Dorset and Dyrham, Glos. was an English nobleman and knight. He was a prominent member of the Gloucestershire gentry. He was the third but eldest surviving son and heir of Sir Ralph Russell (1319–1375) and his wife Alice. He was knighted between June and December 1385 and served twice as Knight of the Shire for Gloucestershire in 1402 and 1404. He held the post of Sheriff of Gloucestershire four times, and was Coroner and Justice of the Peace, Tax Collector and Commissioner of Enquiry. His land holdings were extensive in Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. He was descended from an ancient line which can be traced back to 1210, which ended on the death of his son Thomas, from his second marriage, as a young man without male issue. Most of his estates, despite having been entailed, passed at his death into the families of his two daughters from his first marriage.

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John Smith (antiquarian, born 1567) English genealogical antiquary and politician

John Smith (1567–1640) of North Nibley in Gloucestershire, was an English lawyer and antiquary and was the genealogist of the Berkeley family. He served as a Member of Parliament for Midhurst in Sussex from 1621 to 1622.

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Philip Mede

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References

  1. Davis, C.T. The Monumental Brasses of Gloucestershire, London, 1899. Davis correctly states the date of death as 1417, yet incorrectly calls him 4th Lord in place of 5th; Also drawn in Hollis, George, The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain, 1841, Part 4, Plate 10
  2. Boutell, Charles, Heraldry Historical & Popular, London, 1863, p.235 states that the mermaid was the heraldic badge of the Berkeleys. It appears to have been used only by the 5th Baron
  3. Jeayes, Isaac Herbert, Catalogue of the Charters & Muniments in the Possession of Rt. Hon Lord FitzHardinge at Berkeley Castle, Bristol, 1892. No.581 Enfeoffment 24 June 1417.
  4. Saul, N. Gloucestershire Gentry in the 14th. Century, Oxford, 1981. p.73
  5. Davis, C.T. The Monumental Brasses of Gloucestershire, London, 1899. Davis correctly states the date of death as 1417, yet incorrectly calls him 4th Lord in place of 5th; Also drawn in Hollis, George, The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain, 1841, Part 4, Plate 10
  6. Christine Carpenter, The Wars of the Roses:Politics and the Constitution in England, c.1437–1509, (Cambridge University Press, 1997), 175.
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Maurice de Berkeley
Baron Berkeley
1368–1417
Succeeded by
Title extinct