Berkeley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The name Berkeley arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Berkeley family lived in the county of Gloucestershire, where the family held the distinguished title of the Lords of Berkeley Castle. [1]

Early Origins of the Berkeley family

The surname Berkeley was first found in Gloucestershire where the family name is descended from Thomas de Berkeley, Lord of Berkeley Castle, who was descended from Robert FitzHarding, a Viking of royal blood, and one of the companions at Arms of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

"The first tenant of Berkeley after the conquest was Roger, who in 1086 held lands in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. He bequeathed his lands to his nephew William (Pipe Roll 31 Hen. I, p. 133), founder of the Abbey of Kingswood. By this time probably a Norman castle had been built at Berkeley; for Henry spent Easter there in 1121 ( Anglo-Saxon Chronicles) and Roger, the son and successor of William, having fallen into the hands of Walter, the brother of Miles, earl of Hereford, in the time of the anarchy, was cruelly tortured to make him give up his castle." [2]

Other early records of the name include: Robert de Berkeley, 3rd feudal Baron Berkeley (c.1165-1220); Thomas I de Berkeley, 4th feudal Baron Berkeley (c.1170-1243); and Maurice II de Berkeley, 5th feudal Baron Berkeley (1218-1281.) This line continued with: Thomas II de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley (1245-1321); Maurice III de Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley (1271-1326); Thomas III de Berkeley, 3rd Baron Berkeley (1293-1361); Maurice IV de Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley (1330-1368); and Thomas IV de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley (1352/53-1417.)

"From the fertility of the soil, and its contiguity to the river Severn, it was always a place of considerable importance; and at a very early period it gave name to the great manor of Berkeley, which during the heptarchy was held of the crown, at £500. 17. 2. per annum, by Roger de Berkeley, a near relative of Edward the Confessor, and lord of Dursley, from whom the earliest authentic pedigree of the Berkeley family is deduced. Berkeley, notwithstanding the residence of the oldest branches of the family in their castle at Dursley, was a market-town; and had a nunnery endowed with the large manor. A few years afterwards, William the Conqueror, professing high regard for all the relatives of Edward the Confessor, granted the manor of Berkeley to Roger Berkeley, of Dursley, by whose descendants it was held till the reign of Henry II." [3]

The parish of Slimbridge in Gloucestershire was also an early home to the family. "The parish is bounded on the north by the Severn, and comprises by measurement 3392 acres, of which the greater part is the property of the Berkeley family. The Gloucester and Berkeley canal and the Gloucester and Bristol railroad intersect it." [3]

Wooton Under Edge, again in Somerset was another ancient family seat. "On the erection of the new town, a market and fair, with various municipal privileges, were granted by Henry III. to Maurice, Lord Berkeley, in 1254, which laid the foundation of its subsequent importance. During the civil war of the 17th century, a garrison was maintained here in the interest of the king." [3]

Important Dates for the Berkeley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berkeley research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1219, 1554, 1944, 1530, 1534, 1613, 1579, 1661, 1614, 1579, 1667, 1626, 1640, 1575, 1611, 1604, 1611, 1599, 1668, 1621, 1668, 1601, 1658, 1654, 1630, 1665, 1602, 1678, 1605, 1677, 1610, 1685, 1753 and are included under the topic Early Berkeley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berkeley Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Berkley, Berkeley, Berkely and others.

Early Notables of the Berkeley family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Maurice Berkeley of Bruton in 1530; Henry Berkeley, 7th Baron Berkeley (1534-1613), an English peer and politician, Lord Lieutenant and Vice-Admiral of Gloucestershire, the grandfather of George Berkeley, 8th Baron Berkeley; Richard Berkeley (1579-1661) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1614; Sir Henry Berkeley (1579-1667), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1626 and 1640, supporter of the Royalist side in the English Civil War; Sir Thomas Berkeley (1575-1611), the son and heir apparent of Henry Berkeley, 7th Baron Berkeley, and a...
Another 119 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Berkeley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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 89 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berkeley migration to the United States

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Berkeley name or one of its variants:

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]

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]

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 [6]
  • Howard E. Berkeley, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey 10th District, 1990 [6]
  • Harvey M. Berkeley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1912 [6]
  • Archie C. Berkeley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1940, 1944, 1948 [6]
  • 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.)

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Citations

  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
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