Medieval Muniments at Berkeley Castle Vol 17


Gloucestershire Record Series Volume 17. First of Two Volumes

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Edited by Bridget Wells-Furby

The medieval muniments at Berkeley Castle form one of the largest and most remarkable accumulations in the country of records relating to the ownership and administration of land. By grants from the Crown, by purchase and by marriage the Berkeleys acquired estates not only in Gloucestershire and the adjoining counties but right across England.

The founder of the Berkely family’s landed estate was Robert FitzHarding, a merchant of Bristol, who used his wealth to support the Empress Maud in her struggle against King Stephen, From the Empress’s half-brother Robert earl of Gloucester FitzHarding brought estates south of Bristol and by her son, King Henry 11, he was granted the great estate centred on Berkeley, from which his descendents took their surname. From the late 13th century onwards the Berkeley’s added to the patrimony inherited from FitzHarding by an active policy of purchase and by a succession of prudent or fortunate marriages: some of their wives brought with them marriage portions, while others, more significantly, were heiresses or, through the failure of the male heirs in their families, passed inheritances to their descendents.

As a result of such matrimonial alliances, within the Archive at Berkeley Castle are muniments of the estates of the Lisles (including inheritances of the FitzGerold, Armenters, Foliot, Tyeys and Pipard families), of the Bluets (including the inheritance of the ap Rees family), of the Mobrays (including inheritance of the Beauchamp of Bedford, Breouse, Arundal, Segrave, Chaucombe and Brotherton families), the Bloubts, the Shirleys (including inheritances of the Drayton, Prayers, Cranford and Lovet families), the Careys (including inheritances of the Butler and Boleyn families) and of the Stanhopes (including the inheritance of the Wachesham family). While more than half of catalogue concerns places in Gloucestershire, the muniments also relate to estates in the adjoining counties and to others as far distant as Cornwall, Brecknockshire, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Norfolk and Kent, and there are documents about places in Ireland, Scotland and France.

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Weight 1672 g
Dimensions 255 × 180 × 4.5 cm