Name: Thomas Berkeley
Suffix: Vct L?Isle
Birth: 5 JAN 1353 in Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire
Death: 13 JUL 1417
Burial: Wotton-under-Edge, Glos
MEM: Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire: Brass with wife
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Title: Berkeley, Thomas d 1417.jpg
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Change Date: 7 AUG 2010
Thomas de Berkeley was only 15 years of age when he succeeded to the Barony. He had been married the year previous with great pomp and ceremony to Margaret the daughter and heiress of Gerard Warren, lord de Lisle. The marriage proved a happy one to the individuals most concerned, but it brought bitter fruits to the family in a disputed succession and division of the property, with much bloodshed and litigation which lasted through many following generations. On the death of lord de Lisle in 1383, all his manors 24 in number, besides several advowsons and much other property, devolved on his daughter lady Berkeley, thereby doubling the original Berkeley estate. By this accession of property lord Berkeley greatly increased the style and magnificence of his mode of living, so that he exceeded in state and sumptuousness that of any of his ancestors. He was if possible more fond of field sports than any of his predecessors; his expenditure for the keep of hounds and greyhounds, for hunting the hare, fox, deer and badger, was very great, and at Berkeley he kept great numbers of tame pheasants. He had a barge-house at the Castle bridge-foot, and kept several barges sumptuously fitted up for use on the Severn. Like his predecessors he farmed his own demesne lands with the aid of reeves and bailiffs, maintaining great hospitality at his manor-houses with the produce, and selling the surplus.
Lord Berkeley was frequently employed in military service in the French and Scottish wars, and was also named in several Royal Commissions for arming and training men in the county, and for other purposes. In 1388, the king, Richard II., came to Berkeley Castle, and was royally entertained.
In 1393, lady Berkeley died, to the great grief of her husband, and was buried in the church of Wotton-under-Edge. "She was" says Smyth, "a very mild, devout, and benevolent lady, but without much activity or energy." To divert the sorrow occasioned by her death lord Berkeley obtained the Royal license to go abroad on a pilgrimage for a year, and he never re-married, though only 38 years of age at the time of lady Berkeley's death, and without male issue.
In 1399, the rebellion broke out which ended in the deposition of Richard II., and the elevation to the throne of the duke of Lancaster as Henry IV. The duke of York who had been left Regent of the kingdom during Richard's absence in Ireland, endeavoured for a time to stem the tide of rebellion, but finding his efforts useless, he opened negociations with the duke of Lancaster, and a meeting between them was arranged which took place at Berkeley Castle on the Sunday after St. James's day, 1399. Their combined forces took Bristol Castle, and then marched to Chester, and the unfortunate Richard returned from Ireland to find his kingdom lost. A few days after he signed a formal abdication, to which, amongst others, Thomas lord Berkeley was a witness. At Michaelmas following, the king's deposition was formally completed by a Parliament held at the Tower of London, by whom a commission, consisting of a Bishop, an Abbot, an Earl, a Baron, a Judge, and a Knight, was appointed to take, publish, and pronounce the Kings resignation, lord Berkeley being the Baron; and Lancaster was then formally recognized as king by the title of Henry IV. The unfortunate Richard was soon afterwards murdered at Pontefract Castle.
In 1405, lord Berkeley was in command of an English fleet which gained two important victories over the French, who were endeavouring to support Owen Glendower's rebellion in Wales. He was also made a Privy Counsellor, and one of the Lords of the marches of Wales. He died in 1417, at his manor house of Wotton-under-Edge, and was buried in the church there by the side of his wife the lady Margaret, under a fine altar tomb of grey marble, which bears their effigies in brass. All lady Berkeley's manors descended to their only child Elizabeth, married to the Earl of Warwick, but the Castle and Barony of Berkeley devolved upon the heir male, James, son of the late lord's brother, the lord of Raglan, who now succeeded as eleventh lord Berkeley.
Father: Maurice Berkeley b: 1330 in Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, Glos
Mother: Elizabeth Despencer
Margaret De Lisle
in Wingrave, Bucks
- Elizabeth De Berkeley b: ABT 1385 in Abergavenny
- Text: Dave Berkeley 2004