What is Berkeley: Definition and 103 Discussions

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 (and indirectly to his mother Anne), becoming de facto 7th Baron in 1553. Upon his death he was succeeded by his relative George Harding.
His son, the ninth Baron, was created Earl of Berkeley and Viscount Dursley, which remained united to the barony until the death of the sixth Earl in 1882, when the earldom passed to a male heir and the barony passed to a female one, Louisa Milman. At Louisa's death, the barony went to Eva Mary Foley, upon whose death the barony fell into abeyance. The abeyance was terminated a few years later in favour of Mary Lalle Foley-Berkeley. Upon her death, the barony went to her nephew Anthony Gueterbock, who is the present holder. In 2000, he was created Baron Gueterbock for life in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The epithets of each baron were coined by John Smith of Nibley (d.1641), steward of the Berkeley estates, the biographer of the family and author of "Lives of the Berkeleys".

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