Frederick Augustus Berkeley, 5th Earl of Berkeley

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Frederick Augustus Berkeley, 5th Earl of Berkeley (1745-1810) was a British nobleman.

Origins and education[edit]

Berkeley was the eldest son and heir of Augustus Berkeley, 4th Earl of Berkeley by Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Drax, of Ellerton Abbey, Yorkshire. He succeeded his father in the Earldom in 1755.[1]

Career[edit]

In 1766 Berkeley was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, High Steward of Gloucester, Constable of St Briavels and Warden of the Forest of Dean. He served as a colonel in the army in 1779 and 1794.[1]

George W. E. Russell gives the following account of an adventure that Berkeley once had on the road:

He had always declared that any one might without disgrace be overcome by superior numbers, but that he would never surrender to a single highwayman. As he was crossing Hounslow Heath one night, on his way from Berkeley Castle to London, his travelling carriage was stopped by a man on horseback, who put his head in at the window and said, ‘I believe you are Lord Berkeley?’ ‘I am.’ ‘I believe you have always boasted that you would never surrender to a single highwayman?’ ‘I have.’ ‘Well,’ presenting a pistol, ‘I am a single highwayman, and I say, “Your money or your life.”’ ‘You cowardly dog,’ said Lord Berkeley, ‘do you think I can’t see your confederate skulking behind you?’ The highwayman, who was really alone, looked hurriedly around, and Lord Berkeley shot him through the head.[2]

Family[edit]

Berkeley married Mary Cole (who also passed under the name of Tudor), the daughter of a local publican and butcher. After his death, she asserted that the marriage had taken place on 30 March 1785, but the earliest ceremony of which there is incontrovertible proof was a wedding in Lambeth Church, Surrey, on 16 May 1796.[1][3][4]

He settled Berkeley Castle upon their eldest son, William Fitz Hardinge Berkeley, but William’s attempt to assume his father’s honours were disallowed by the House of Lords. It appears that Berkeley’s titles devolved as a matter of law upon his fifth son, Thomas Morton Fitzhardinge Berkeley (1796-1882), but were never used by him.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Cokayne’s Complete Peerage, Volume II (St Catherine Press, London, 1912), at pages 142-143
  2. ^ George W. E. Russell, Collections & Recollections (revised edition, Smith Elder & Co, London, 1899), at page 5.
  3. ^ "The Peerage". Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Mary Cole: Victim or Villain?". Berkeley Buttress: Newsletter of Friends of Berkeley Castle. Retrieved November 2011 2013.