Berkeley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Although the surname is generally known as Scottish, the origins of the name come from when the ancestors of the family lived in the parish of Berkeley in the county of Gloucestershire. Local names such as Berkeley were taken from the name of the place or landmark where the original bearer of the name lived or was born.

Early Origins of the Berkeley family

The surname Berkeley was first found in Gloucestershire, where the earliest records of the name include Roger de Bercleia of Gloucestershire in the Domesday Book of 1086; as well as Edidius de Berkeleye and Maurice de Berkelay of Somerset, both recorded in the Hundredorum Rolls in 1273.The family held the parish of Berkeley long before the Norman Conquest.

However, when they refused to submit to King William, they were pressured into moving northward to Scotland. There, they established a line close to the Scottish throne. One of the first records of the name was Theobald de Berkeley who was listed there temp. David I. [1]

"Roger de Berkely, a Saxon living at the time of the Conquest was the grandfather of Theobald de Berkely, who settled in Scotland, and was the ancestor of the Barclays. " [2]

"Walter de Berchelai or Berkelai held the high office of Chamberlain of Scotland in 1165, was present in Curia Regis at Lanark in that year, and witnessed several charters of William the Lion. " [3]

During the late Middle Ages, the name was quite common in Fife and Aberdeenshire. They were the traditional sheriffs of Banffshire for many generations. Another line was established in Mathers during the end of the 12th century. In 1456, the chiefship went to the Barclays of Towie, and has since remained there.

Early History of the Berkeley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berkeley research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1165, 1189, 1196, 1598, 1668, 1950, 1476, 1552, 1582, 1621, 1610, 1686, 1648, 1690, 1682, 1690, 1696, 1696, 1698 and are included under the topic Early Berkeley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berkeley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Berkeley, Barkley, Barklay, Barckley, Barclay and many more.

Early Notables of the Berkeley family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Dr Alexander Barclay (c.1476-1552), English/Scottish poet; John Barclay (1582-1621), Scottish satirist and neo-Latin poet; Colonel David Barclay (1610-1686), 1st Laird of Urie, Kincardineshire, leader of a famed highland regiment that served as mercenaries under Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden; and his son, Robert Barclay (1648-1690), a Scottish Quaker, one of the most eminent writers belonging to the Religious Society of Friends, 2nd Governor of East Jersey (1682-1690.) Sir George Barclay ( fl. 1696), was the principal agent in the assassination plot against William III in 1696, was of Scotch descent, and at the...
Another 96 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Berkeley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Berkeley family to Ireland

Some of the Berkeley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Berkeley migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Berkeley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Berkeley, who arrived in Virginia in 1622 [4]
  • Mary Berkeley, who arrived in Virginia in 1648 [4]
  • Francis Berkeley, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 [4]
  • Sir William Berkeley, who landed in Virginia in 1677 [4]
Berkeley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Berkeley, who landed in New England in 1729 [4]

Australia Berkeley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Berkeley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Charles Berkeley, who arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "John Renwick" in 1837 [5]
  • Martha Snell Berkeley, who arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "John Renwick" in 1837 [5]
  • Mr. William Berkeley, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]

New Zealand Berkeley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Berkeley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W. H. Berkeley, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Canute" in 1867

Contemporary Notables of the name Berkeley (post 1700) +

  • Busby Berkeley (1895-1976), American actor, and movie dance choreographer
  • Scott B. Berkeley, American politician, Mayor of Goldsboro, North Carolina, 1952-55 [7]
  • Howard E. Berkeley, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey 10th District, 1990 [7]
  • Harvey M. Berkeley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1912 [7]
  • Archie C. Berkeley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1940, 1944, 1948 [7]
  • Miles Joseph Berkeley (1803-1889), English cryptogamist, one of the founders of the science of plant pathology
  • Sir Lennox Randal Francis Berkeley (1903-1989), English classical composer
  • Michael Fitzhardinge Berkeley CBE (b. 1948), Baron Berkeley of Knighton, English composer
  • Maurice Berkeley (b. 1921), English Lieutenant-Colonel in the service of the Royal Artillery
  • John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton, English army officer and courtier
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Berkeley Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Crux salutem confert
Motto Translation: The cross brings salvation


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOHN RENWICK 1837. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837JohnRenwick.htm
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1837
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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