The following is from Crispin and Macary,
"Wace records "Rogier li veil cil
de Belmont," but in the manuscript in the British Museum
the name is Robert, which is correct, since Roger remained in
Normandy at the head of the council to assist Queen Matilda in
the government of that duchy. Roger is conceded to have been
the wealthiest, noblest, and most trusted of the seigniors of
Normandy. He was the son of Humphrey de Viellers, grandson of
Thurold de Pontaudemer, a descendant of the kings of Denmark,
through Bernard the Dane, the companion of Duke Rollo the Dane.
Lofty as was his ancestry, he adopted the title of the family
of his wife, Adelina, Countess of Meulent, Meulant, Mellent, later
Meulan used by his posterity. He contributed sixty vessels to
the fleet of Duke William and was represented at Senlac by his
son Robert, whom William of Poitiers and Oderic Vital state was
"a novice in arms." Robert was rewarded with ninety
manors in Warwick, Leicester, Wilts, and also Northampton. He
and his brother Henry, afterwards Earl of Warwick, were among
the barons who reconciled King William and his son, Duke Robert
Curthose, in 1081. He was known after the death of his mother
as Count of Meulent and as such in 1082 sat in the French Parliament,
as a peer of France. With his brother, he espoused the cause
of King William Rufus and after his death that of King Henry,
by whom he was created Earl of Leicester. He married Elizabeth
Vermandois, daughter of the Count of Vermandois, and he had issue:
Emma, born 1102; Waleran and Robert, twins, born 1104; and Hugh
the Poor, afterwards Earl of Bedford, and the following other
daughters, Adeline, Amicia, Albreda, and Isabel. Robert de Beaumont
married Godehilde, daughter of Raoul de Toeni (Toni) II, who bore
him no children and from whom he was separated by 1090. When
between fifty and sixty, he married secondly Lady Elizabeth, who
was young, and William de Warren II, Earl of Warren and Surrey,
supplanted Robert in her affections, so that she ultimately deserted
him, which affected his mind and hurried him to his death in 1118."
The following is taken from Burke, pg. 42.
This great earl is characterized as "the wisest of all men betwixt this and Jerusalem, in worldly affairs; famous for knowledge, plausible in speech, skillful in craft, discreetly provident, ingeniously subtle, excelling for prudence, profound in council, and of great wisdom." In the latter days of his life he became a monk in the abbey of Preaux, where he died in 1118, and was succeeded in the Earldom of Leicester by his 2nd son, Robert.
The earl who was a munificent benefactor to the church, and founder of several religious houses, died in 1167, after having lived for fifteen years a canon regular in the abbey of Leicester, and was succeeded by his son, Robert.
See the continuation of this lineage in the
Ref: Burke, pp. 43-47.
Ref: "The Ligon Family".
The Berkeley family is unique in having an
unbroken male line of descent from a Saxon ancestor before the
Norman Conquest of England in 1066 to the 20th Century. The family
descends from Harding, the son of Eadnoth (Alnod), who was "Marshal"
or "Staller", a high official under King Edward the
Confessor. A study of dates makes it probable that this Harding
had a son of the same name, perhaps the man who played a distinguished
part in the Crusading Wars, helping King Baldwin I of Jerusalem,
to win the battle of Jaffa in 1102. The son of the crusader would
then be Robert FitzHarding of Berkeley, afterwards styled Robert
de Berkeley. The town of Berkeley is located in the county of
Gloucestershire and is situated about five miles west of Dursley
and eighteen southwest of Gloucester, and northeast of Bristol.
It was chartered by King Edward I. to be governed by a mayor
and alderman, but the corporation was annulled in 1885. The place
confers the title of Earl and Baron on the Berkeley family. The
manor embraces nearly thirty parishes and is one of the largest
in England; it was given by William the Conqueror to Roger de
Berkeley, Lord of Dursley. Having espoused the cause of King
Stephen in opposition to Empress Maud, the third Roger de Berkeley
was deposed by King Henry II., and the title and estates were
conferred upon Robert FitzHarding, a wealthy citizen of Bristol.
In the Domesday Book, the name of Berkeley is written Berchelai,
whereas the Saxons wrote it Beoncenlan. It is supposed to have
been so called from Beonce, the beech-tree, because it once grew
very plentifully there. The town is one of the ancient boroughs,
of which there are five in Gloucestershire, in the time of King
Edward I. At the time that William obtained the crown of England,
he rewarded Roger de Berkeley with the manor of Berkeley. Roger
was an ancient Saxon nearly allied in blood to King Edward the
Confessor, and who supported William at the battle of Hastings.
Roger, thus, assumed the name of Roger de Berkeley. Roger de
Berkeley founded the family of Berkeley in England at the Norman
Conquest. He was a leading chief in the army of William the Conqueror.
He is styled, in the 20th year of King William, as "Roger
Senior of Berkeley" from the possession of Berkeley Castle,
co. Gloucester. "The castle." says Rudder, "was
began in the 17th year of Henry I., by Roger de Berkeley the 2nd,
and finished by Roger the 3rd, in the reign of King Stephen.
Further additions were made during the reign of King Edward III."
[Editors Note: This castle was visited by the Homer Beers James, the author, and his wife in July, 1993.]
This Roger bestowed several churches upon
the priory of Stanley, with the tithes and lands, and being shorn
a monk there, in 1091, restored the lordship of Stoteshore, which
he had long detained from that convent. Since he had no issue,
he was succeeded at his death by his nephew, William.
From "The Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage
of the British Empire", "The Earl of Berkeley",
pp 70-71 (1882). Also Burke's "Peerage and Baronetage",
"The history of the peerage of the
Earl of Berkeley, unquestionably feudal in its origins, which
has been more or less recognized in its territorial character
at various epochs, is of exceptional importance in bearing upon
the history of English dignities, and the gradual obsolescence
and final extinction of barony by tenure."
"Harding of Bristol, said by genealogists
to have been the son of a king of Denmark and companion to the
Conqueror, has been conjectured by a modern historian to be identical
with Harding (a contemporary of Harold and William, son of Eadnoth
the Staller, an officer of Edward the Confessor, who survived
the Conquest; but this identification can only be regarded as
`not improbable.' His son, Robert FitzHarding, of Bristol, obtained
from Henry, Duke of Normandy, afterwards Henry II, a grant of
the hundred of Berkeley, called Berkeley Herness. He granted
all the churches in Berkeley Herness to St. Augustine's Abbey,
Bristol (now the cathedral), of which he is the reputed founder,
and where he was buried, 1171. His only surviving son, Maurice
de Berkeley, obtained in 1189 confirmations from King Richard
I., and from Queen Eleanor of Berkeley Herness. `to be held in
barony by the service of five knights.' He married Alice, daughter
of Roger de Berkeley, of Dursley, the former Lord of Berkeley.
Their eldest son, Robert de Berkeley, obtained a charter of confirmation
from King Richard I., in 1199. He was one of the Barons at war
with King John, and died May 13, 1219. He was succeeded by Thomas,
his brother, whose grandson, Thomas de Berkeley, 6th Baron by
tenure, had writs of summons to parliament from June 24, 1295
(the 23rd year of King Edward I.), to May 15, 1321 (the 14th year
of King Edward II.). In 1301, 1302, and 1305 he was serving in
the Scottish wars with Maurice and John his son; prisoner at the
battle of Bannockburn, in June 1314; Justice of West Wales, 1317.
He died July 23, ????. His younger son, James, was Bishop of
Maurice died on June 16, 1189, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert. (Ref: The Ligon Family)
Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son, Maurice.
He died seized of his barony of Berkeley, April 4, 1281, and was buried in the north aisle of St. Augustine's abbey in Bristol.
Thomas died July 23, 1321, and was buried at St. Augustine's abbey. His wife, Jane, died March 19, 1309.
Thomas and his second wife, Catherine, had
the following children:
Thomas de Berkeley died October 27, 1361, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Maurice, of the first marriage.
He died in 1405 at Berkeley Castle, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas.
He married (3) in 1457, Joan Talbot, daughter of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury (who married (2) in 1487, Edmund Hungerford). He died in November 1463, and was buried in Berkeley Church.
3, Elizabeth Berkeley. See below.
John died on June 28, 1545, in the 37th year of King Henry VIII.
(Ref: "The Ligon Family in England".
See also John Smith's "Lives of the Berkeleys" (1885).
See Visitation of Gloucestershire).
See the continuation of this lineage elsewhere
in the Lygon Line.
Another branch of the Berkeley family which
joins with the above is shown here below:
9. Maurice Berkeley, of Uley, co. Gloucester,
Knight, (son of Maurice Berkeley, Baron Berkeley, of Berkeley
Castle), died at the siege of Calais, in the 21th year of Edward
III., leaving by Margaret Berkeley,
his wife, a son and daughter as follows:
Maurice married (2) Elizabeth Sandes, daughter of Anthony Sandes, Esq., and by her was ancestor of the Berkeleys of Boycot, co. Kent. From his second marriage there were two sons and a daughter.
See the continuation of this lineage in the Lygon Line.