Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley

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Thomas de Berkeley
5th Baron Berkeley
Monumental brass of Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley & wife, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire[1]
Spouse(s) Margaret de Lisle, Baroness Berkeley
Father Maurice de Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley
Mother Elizabeth le Despenser
Born 1352/1353
Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England
Died July 13, 1417 (aged 64-65)
Arms of Berkeley: Gules, a chevron between ten crosses pattée six in chief and four in base argent
Drawing of detail of mermaid livery collar of Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley (d.1417), from his monumental brass at Wotton-under-Edge, Glos. The mermaid was the heraldic badge of the Berkeleys[2]

Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley the Magnificent (5 January 1352/53 – 13 July 1417) was an English peer.


He was born at Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England, the son and heir of Maurice de Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley by his wife Elizabeth le Despencer.

Transfers estate to trustees[edit]

In 1417 he enfeoffed at Berkeley Castle, shortly before his death, several feoffees to hold all his lands in trust, due to the fact he had no male children as his heirs and that the course of succession then seemed unclear. The catalogue entry made by the British Museum librarian Isaac Jeaves for charter number 581 preserved in the muniments at Berkeley Castle records:[3]

"Feoffment by Thomas, Lord Berkeley, Knt, to Walter Poole, Gilbert Denys Knts, Thomas Knolles, citizen of London, Thomas Rugge, John Grevell, Robert Greyndour and Thomas Sergeant, esquires, of all the lands, reversions, and tenants' services in Berkeley, Wotton, Gloucester, South Cerney, Cerneyeswike, Aure, Arlingham, and Horton, and in Berkeley and Bledislow Hundreds; in the City of London; in Portbury, Portishead, Weston, Bedminster, and in Bedminster and Portbury Hundreds, co. Somerset, and in Sharnecote and Chicklade, co. Wiltshire, together with the advowsons of St. Andrew's Church in Baynard's Castle, London, the advowsons of Chicklade, Portishead, and Walton, and the patronage and advowson of St. Mary's Abbey of Kingswood. Witnesses: Thomas FitzNicoll, John Pauncefoot, Knights; Robert Poyntz, Edmund Bassett, Thomas Kendale. Datum ad Berkeley, Thursday, Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (24 June) 5 Hen. V. (1417) Withseal,broken)"

The great City of London townhouse of the Berkeleys, known as "Berkeley's Inn", was at Puddle Dock by Baynard's Castle, close to the Blackfriars Monastery. Thomas FitzNicholl, one of the witnesses, was many times MP for Gloucestershire, including in 1395 when he served jointly with Gilbert Denys. Saul, N. states that such feoffees were likely to have been members of Lord Berkeley's retinue.[4] These were very significant positions of trust granted to his feoffees as Berkeley died leaving only a daughter and the succession to the vast Berkeley lands, including the castle itself, became a matter of much dispute amongst his possible heirs resulting in a series of feuds which led in 1470 to the last private battle fought on English soil at the Battle of Nibley Green, between Lord William Berkeley and Viscount Lisle, and there followed the longest dispute in English legal history, which did not end until 1609.


Arms of Lisle of Kingston Lisle: Gules, a lion statant guardant argent crowned or

In 1367 Thomas married Margaret de Lisle, 3rd Baroness Lisle (1360–1392), daughter of Warine de Lisle, 2nd Baron Lisle (d.1382) and Margaret Pipard. Thomas and Margaret had one child:




  • Richardson, Douglas, Kimball G. Everingham, and David Faris. Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. Royal ancestry series. (p. 99) Baltimore, Md: Genealogical Pub. Co, 2004. Retrieved April 20, 2008
  • Accessed April 20, 2008


  1. ^ Davis, C.T. The Monumental Brasses of Gloucestershire, London, 1899. Davis correctly states the date of death as 1417, yet incorrectly calls him 4th Lord in place of 5th; Also drawn in Hollis, George, The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain, 1841, Part 4, Plate 10
  2. ^ Boutell, Charles. Heraldry Historical & Popular, London, 1863, p.235
  3. ^ Jeayes, Isaac Herbert, Catalogue of the Charters & Muniments in the Possession of Rt. Hon Lord FitzHardinge at Berkeley Castle, Bristol, 1892. No.581 Enfeoffment 24/6/1417.
  4. ^ Saul, N. Gloucestershire Gentry in the 14th. Century, Oxford, 1981. p.73
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Maurice de Berkeley
Baron Berkeley
Succeeded by
Title extinct