2004-08-27 17:51:00 UTC
I wrote on 7-31-2003 in the thread 'Children of Isabel Mowbray &
James, 1st Lord Berkeley':
"So, Isabel Mowbray had at least one child, youngest son Thomas
Berkeley, after 1434, which makes a birth for Isabel before 1390
"In conclusion, we know Isabel Mowbray's childbearing continued at
least once after the year 1434. This indicates that she could not
have been born 1386-90, and her likelier birth estimate is 1394-99."
I was very excited to pay a visit to Berkeley Castle last month, and
was surprised to find that it was still owned by male-line descendants
of James, 1st Lord Berkeley & Isabel Mead (somewhere the Talbots are
rolling over in their graves). I had vaguely recalled that the
earldom of Berkeley had become extinct and the barony had descended
into the female line.
Luckily, the official guide book for the Castle has a pedigree that
spells everything out. After the death of the unmarried 6th Earl
Berkeley in 1882, the barony of Berkeley descended to his younger
brother's daughter Louisa (Berkeley) Milman, while the earldom went to
his first cousin once removed, George Lennox Berkeley who became the
The death without issue of the 8th Earl Berkeley in 1942 brought the
male line of Maurice, 3rd Baron Berkeley and Isabel Mead to
extinction, and I had assumed that Berkeley Castle was inherited by
the descendants of Louisa Milman, Baroness Berkeley (whose
great-grandson, Anthony Gueterbock, 18th Baron Berkeley, is the
current holder, inheriting the title from his aunt in 1992).
But apparently that old 14th-century entail that Berkeley Castle could
only descend to heirs male - the entail that started the
Berkeley-Talbot feud which lasted almost 200 years - was still in
effect in 1942. For after the 8th Earl's death, Berkeley Castle was
inherited by his thirteenth cousin Robert George Wilmot Berkeley
(1898-1969), the senior male descendant of Thomas Berkeley, youngest
son of James, 3rd Lord Berkeley and Isabel Mowbray!
Does the latest Burke's Peerage cover this line of Berkeleys at all?
I would imagine - since Berkeley Castle inheritance was at stake -
that the descent of the present owner of the Castle from Thomas
Berkeley (d. 1484) and his wife Margaret Guy is valid. Still, it's an
amazing 13-generation-removed inheritance.
The pedigree also offers dates of birth for Maurice, 3rd Baron
Berkeley (1436) and younger brother Thomas Berkeley (1439). I don't
know what the sources are for these dates, but if valid, Isabel
Mowbray giving birth to her youngest son in 1439 would put a birthdate
for her no earlier than 1394/5, and Isabel's youngest sister Margaret
Mowbray Howard then between 1396 and 1399.
The current owner of Berkeley Castle, Robert John Grantley Berkeley
(b. 1931), has two sons, so it looks as if direct male-line
descendants of the 14th-century Barons Berkeley will continue into the