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THIS noble family are descended from Robert Fitz-Harding, who obtained a grant of Berkeley-castle in Gloucestershire (which the family still inherit, and from whence they obtained the surname of Berkeley) from Henry duke of Normandy, afterwards king of England, the said Robert Fifz-Harding being descended from the royal line of the kings of Denmark. Harding, the father of the said Robert, accompanied William duke of Normandy, into England, was present at the memorable battle of HastingSj and died in the reign of Henry I.
In the disputes between the empress Maud and king Stephen, the above-mentioned Robert Fitz-Harding espoused the cause of the empress and her son Henry; and was by him rewarded with the manor of Bcrthone in the county of Gloucester, together with lands in Berkeley, valued at loo L per annum, and afterwards with the whole lordftip of Berkeley, and Berkeley-Herhesse, thereunto belonging ; of which Robert de Berkeley, owner of Duriley, was then divested for taking part with king Stephen. In 1168 he had the honour ef entertaining Dermot Mac Marrough, king of Leioster, with his retinue, at Bristol; snd dying on February 5, in the 17th year of the reign of Henry H. left issue by Eve, his wife, four sons; Henry, Maurice, Robert, and Nicholas.
Henry the eldest dying young, and without issue, Maurice the second son succeeded, and is ancestor to the present earl of Berkeley. He founded Lowring Hospital, and that «t the Holy Tiinity of LoMg-brigge,
at the. north of Beikeley.in Gloucestershire, and married Alice, daughter of Roger de Berkeley, the former owner of Berkeley., and of Dursley, by whom he had fix sons; Robert, Thomas, Maurice, William, Henry, and Richard; and dying June 16, i 189, was succeeded by
Robert, his eldest son, who siding with the disaffected barons against? king John, was excommunicated by the pope, and deprived of his castle, and all his lands: however, upon his submission, he got a grant ot his manor of Came in Dorsetshire, for the support of Julian his wife; and at last, on Henry the.First's accession, to the throne, for a fine of nine hundred sixty-six p'oundsi thirteen shillings, and four-pence, he made his peace, aud was restored to all his lands, except the castle and town of Berkeley, which, however, were afterwards restored to his brother in 1223, by Henry HI. He was a great benefactor to the canons of St. Augustine near Bristol, Bradenstoke in Wiltshire, Stanley Priory in Gloucestershire, as also to the canons of Hereford. He was twice married, but dying.without issur on May 1 3, r 2 19, his honours and estate descended to .;: :,: . ;;i.
Thomas his second brother, who in the reign of Henry 111. offered a sine to the king of sixty matks, to be exempted from attending him into GaTcoigne; on which his majesty, who was then at Xaintoigne, dispatched letters to him, informing him, that he should be exempted on sending his son Maurice,, and two other knights; with which he complied. He died on Nov. 29, 1243, leaving ;ffu« by Joan, daughter of 3 A Ralph Jj8 Gtntalogical Account of'Be
Ralph de Somery, lord of Campville in Glouc*iIerfhire, six sons, and was as remarkable as his father for his piety and large donations to the church.
He was succeeded by his eldest son Maurice, who accompanied his father in the wars of France, and attended prince Edward, son of Henry III. in an expedition against the Welsh. But siding wuh the barons against his sovereign, his lands were seized ; however, he was afterwards pardoned. Maurice was a benefactor to the abbey of St. Augustine near Bristol; and departed this life on April 4,1281: he had issue by Isabel his wife, Maurice, lulled In a tournament in his own lifetime ; Thomas, who succeeded him;, and Robert.
Thomas, earl of Berkeley, distinguished himself very remarkably under Henry III. Edward I and Edward II. in their wars with the Welsh and Scots, and was highly favoured and honoured by those three monarch*. Under Edward F. he was constituted constable of England -T and appointed ambassador to the court of Rome, with William de Geynesburgh, D. D. about affairs in France, his two sons at the fame time accompanying him. He was present at the battle of Bannocksburne, in the reign of Edward IL where he was taken prisoner, and obliged to pay a large sine for his ransom. Like his ancestors, he was 9 munificent patron to the religious houses. He adhered to Thomas earl of Lancaster in his rebellious actions; and died the fame year (1340, 15. Edward II.) on July 23, leaving issue by Jane his wife, daughter of William de Ferrers, earl of Derby, three sons and two ■dai/ghiers- • >-■' „
-kesey. Earl of Berkeley. BrftffiV Maurice his eldest son, who succeeded him, delighted from hi* youth in military atchievements, and distinguished himself in several tournaments. He accompanied his father in most of his expeditions against the Welsh and Scots; and in 13 12 was appointed by EdwardII. governor of Gloucester, and afterwards in 1314 governor of the town and castle of Berwick upon Tweed. In 1315 he was made justice of South Wales by the fame monarch ;. and in 13191, constituted steward of the duchy of Aquitaine, by the title of the king's beloved kinsman. But unfortunately joining with Thomas earl of Lancaster, and his adherents, and upon special summons neglecting to submit to the king, his eristics and- lands were seized, and himself afterwards sent prisoner to Wallingford castle, where he died May 31, 1326. He was twice married: by his first wife Eve, daughter of Kudo la Zouche, he had five sons and one daughter; but left no issue by hissecond, Isabel, daughter of Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester.
Thomas, the eldest son and heir, sharing in the fate of the earl of Lancaster, and his followers, in opposing the power of the Spencers, was first committed to the Tower of London, whence he made brs escape; but, being re-taken, wassent to Berkhamstead castle in Hertfordshire, and afterwards removed to Pevenfey in Sussex : however, on the queen's coming from France, and landing in England with all the forces (he could muster, he quickly regained his liberty, and had his castle of Berkeley delivered unto him, of which Hugh le Despencer, the younger, had got possession Through his interest with Edward II. Afterwards, when that king wra»
Mag. Genealogical Account of Berkeley, ~Earl of Berkeley.
made prisoner by the disaffected His death was supposed to be partly
party, he was committed to the care occasioned by some wounds he re
of this Thomas lord Berkeley, to be ceived at the battle or" Poictiers,
kept in his castle of Berkeley; but which had never been properly
exceptions being taken that he treat- cured. By Elizabeth his wife, daugh
ed him with too much lenity and ter "of Hugh le Despenser, he had
civility, he was commanded to de- four sons; viz. Thomas, his eldest
liver him to John lord Maltravers, son and heir; James, ancestor to
•and Thomas Gonrney, together the present earl of Berkeley; with
with his castle ; upon which he re- two more sons and three daughters,
tired to Bradley, one of his manor- ■ Thomas, when he succeeded his
'houses. Being afterwards indicted "father, was but fifteen years of age.
•in the reign of Edward HI. tor being He served with reputation and iiJe
•acceffary to the murder of the late lity under Edward 111. Richard II.
<3cing; upon his trial he was ac- and Henry IV. The latter made
■quitted by the jury, and also by the him admiral of his fleet, from the
parliament. He was very actiye io mouth of the Thames 10 the west
the Scotch wars, during the reign and south: he was also sworn of
■of Edward 11. and signalized himself his privy council in open paiiia
-»nder Edward III. in various expe- merit. He was a lover of learning:,
-dirions, both against the French and and an encouragerof the fainousjohn
"Scots. He was present at the battle Trevisa, vicar of Berkeley, author of
of Creey; and was one of'the chic's several pieces ; being, as Bale writes
•commanders at the battle of Poic- it, u man os much learning, and excetd
tiers, where the English obtained ing eloquent. He married Margaret,
immortal honour-; and, in the latter daughter to Gerard Warren, lord of
engagement, he took so many pri- Lisle, by whom he had a daughter,
soners, that out of their ransoms he and died on July 13, 1416.
built Beverstone-caitle in Glou- 'Dying without male issue, James,
cesterfhire. He conferred large-en- son and heir of James de Berkeley,
•dowmentson federal religious houses, brother of the'last-mentioned earl,
atid founded some chantries and became his heir; and by virtue of a spe
other charitable institutions. He eial entail and fine, enjoyed the castle
•died on Odtober 27, 1561, after and lordship of Berkeley, vvith other
having been twiee married: first, to 'lordships in the said fine mentioned.
Margaret, fourth daughter to Roger He was twenty-three years of age at
-de Mortimer, earl of March, and the time of his father's death, which
widow of Robert de Vere, earl of happened on June 13, 1404, who
Oxford, by whom he had four sons was knighted, and had been ap
■and one daughter; and, secondly, pointed governor of Tretour-Castle
to Catherine, daughter of Sir John in Brecknockshire, by Henry IV.
Clivedon, knt. widow of Sir Peter le This earl was summoned to parlia
Vere, knt. and by her had issue four ment among the peers in the reign
sons. of Henry V, as he was also to all
He left Maurice, his eldest son by Henry Vl's parliaments. He was
his first wife, his heir, who followed thrice married j but had no issue by 'his father's example in works -of two of his wives. By his second
piety, and died on June S, 1367. wise, who was daughter of Thomas
3 A 2 Mowbray