Berkeley

A lithotint of the courtyard of Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England by F.W. Hulme after a picture by J.G.Jackson, published 1845.

Berkeley, Gloucestershire Family History

Berkeley is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Gloucestershire. Breadstone and Stone are chapelries of Berkeley.

The parish comprises the market-town of Berkeley, the chapelry of Stone, the tythings of Alkington, Hinton, and Ham, and the hamlets of Radstone and Hamfollow.

Parish church: St. Mary

Parish registers begin: 1562. Separate registers exist for Stone beginning in 1594.

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Berkeley

  • Kingswood
  • Tortworth
  • Breadstone
  • Stone
  • North Nibley
  • Falfield
  • Hill
  • Rockhampton
  • Stinchcombe
  • Cam
  • Slimbridge

Historical Descriptions

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Berkeley The Minster Church in Berkeley has many unusual and interesting features. One of the most obvious externally is that, as can be seen here, the church bell tower (the current one dating from 1753) is separate from the main body of the church. There are various stories as to why it was built this way however the most practical is that due to the main church's close proximity to Berkeley Castle this arrangement would prevent enemies using the church tower to fire in to the castle.

Berkeley

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1840

BERKELEY, a parish in the upper division of the hund. of Berkeley, union of Thornbury, county of Gloucester. A branch of the Bristol and Gloucester railway, to join the one between Cheltenham and Swindon, intersects this parish. It comprises the market-town of Berkeley, the chapelry of Stone, the tythings of Alkington, Hinton, and Ham, and the hamlets of Radstone and Hamfollow. Living, a vicarage in the archd. of Gloucester and dio. of Gloucester and Bristol; valued at £32 15s. 7 12 d. Patron, in 1835, Lord Seagrave. The church is a spacious structure, in the pointed style of architecture. It contains some curious monuments, and is the burial-place of Jenner. The tower stands detached from the body of the church. There is a chapel-of ease at Stone. There are 21 daily and 5 Sunday schools in this parish. The charitable benefactions connected with it are very numerous, and produce £246 16s. 2d. per annum. In 1838 there was a cotton-mill, employing 27 hands, within this parish. The vale of Berkeley is celebrated for the excellence of its dairy-farms, and for the production of Gloucester cheese. Pop., in 1821, 3,835; in 1831, 3,899. Houses 707. Acres 14,680. A. P. £28,278. Poor rates, in 1837, £2,021.

The market-town of Berkeley, in the above parish, is 114 miles north by west of London, and 15 south-south-west of Gloucester, in the vicinity of the Gloucester and Bristol railway. It stands in the vale of Berkeley, on an eminence about a mile from the Severn, and on a small tributary of that river. It consists principally of four streets. The Independents have a place of worship here. There is some trade in timber, coal, malt, and cheese, which is facilitated by the vicinity of the Severn, and the Berkeley and Gloucester canal, which last is navigable for vessels of 600 tons burden. It extends in a course nearly parallel with the Severn, from a point on the eastern bank of the Severn, within 21 miles of Berkeley to Gloucester, a distance of 16 miles, and is connected with the town of Berkeley by a cut. The market-day is Wednesday, and a fair for cattle and pigs is held on May 14th. This town was a borough in the reign of Edward I.; but the charter of incorporation has been lost. It is governed by a mayor and 12 aldermen. Petty-sessions for the upper division of the hundred of Berkeley are held at the White Hart inn here. The qualified electors in Berkeley vote for the county-members for West Gloucestershire, under the new system of representation. Here is a free school for 39 boys, founded and endowed, in 1696, with lands, now producing £38 per annum, by Mr Samuel Thurner, in addition to which, lands producing £17 per annum were bequeathed by Mr John Smith. There are, besides, seven daily, and three Sunday schools, in this township. Berkeley was the birth place of the celebrated Dr Edward Jenner, who introduced the practice of vaccination. Having obtained a European reputation, and some wealth, he died here of apoplexy in 1823. This place is of great antiquity. Under the Saxons it was a place of importance, and is recorded in Domesday-book as a royal demesne and a free borough. The manor is one of the largest in the kingdom, having nearly 30 parishes dependent on it. It was granted by William the Conqueror to Roger de Berkeley, who built a castle here, about three-fourths of a mile from the town, on the south-east side. The grandson of the founder was deprived of his title and estates by Henry II., for his adherence to King Stephen; they were conferred on Robert Fitz-Harding, who assumed the title of Baron de Berkeley. In this castle — which Sir James Mackintosh pronounces to be ‘the finest specimen of the smaller castellated architecture’ — the unfortunate Edward II. was murdered in September, 1327, having been detained here in confinement under the nommal custody of the earl. A small apartment called the dungeon-room, with its original furniture, over the flight of steps leading into the keep, is shown as the place where the cruel murder was perpetrated. [See Walsingham, page 127. Holinshed, ii. 883.] This castle sustained a siege, in the reign of Charles I., against the army of the parliament, but was obliged to surrender, after a siege of nine days. The remains consist of the keep, flanked by three semicircular towers, and a square tower of more recent date. The entrance is under a massive arch, adorned with rich carvings; the area is circular, and enclosed with a moat. A portion of the structure has been modernized, and is the residence of Colonel Berkeley, who enjoys the estate, but not the title. In the different apartments of the castle, a series of family portraits is preserved, — including one of George Lord Berkeley, the friend of Burton, who dedicated his ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’ to his lordship. — “Here was an old religious house long before the Conquest, which might be the family at Berkeley, mentioned in the acts of a synod at Clovesho, in 1824. It is very doubtful whether it consisted of monks or of nuns, who were suppressed by the villany of Earl Godwin, in the time of Edward the Confessor, as related by Camden and others out of Walter Mapes. The hospital of St James and St John here is mentioned, Cart. 12° Hen. III. m. 4., wherein is a confirmation of several parcels of land wherewith it was endowed.” — Tanner’s Not. Mon. Pop., in 1801, 658; in 1831, 760. Houses 177. Acreage with the parish. A. P. £1,600. Poor rates, in 1837, £277

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1840.

Alkington

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Alkington, 1 mile S.E. Berkeley. P. 1175.

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.

Lewis Topographical Dictionary of England 1845

Alkington, a tything, in the parish, and Upper division of the hundred of Berkeley, union of Thornbury, W division of the county of Gloucester, 1 ¼ mile (S. E.) from Berkeley; containing 1175 inhabitants. The village of Newport, on the great road from Gloucester to Bristol, is situated in this tything, and is the central posting-place between those cities; it contains two good hotels and several smaller inns. There is a place of worship for Independents.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis Fifth Edition Published London; by S. Lewis and Co., 13, Finsbury Place, South. M. DCCC. XLV

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1840

Alkington, a tything in the parish and hund. of Berkeley, Gloucestershire; 1 14 mile south-east of Berkeley. It stands on the Severn. Pop., in 1801 816; in 1831, 1,167. Houses 193. A. P. £7,298. Poor rates, in 1837, £638.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1840.

Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland 1833

Alkington, co. Gloucester.

P. T. Berkeley (113¾) 1 m. SE. Pop. 1101.

A tything and township in the parish of Berkeley, in the upper division of the hundred of Berkeley, situated on the river Severn

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland by John Gorton. The Irish and Welsh articles by G. N. Wright; Vol. I; London; Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand; 1833.

Bradstone

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Bradstone, a hamlet in the parish of Berkeley, upper division of the hund. of Berkeley, county of Gloucester; 2 miles north-east of Berkeley. Connected with this place, Hamfollow hamlet, and Hinton tything, there are seven daily schools. Pop., in 1801, 130; in 1831, 121. Houses 26. Acreage with the parish. Poor rates, in 1837, £110.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.

A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland 1833

Bradstone, co. Gloucester.

P.T. Berkeley (114) 2 m. NE b E. Pop. 152.

A tything in the parish of Berkeley and upper division of the hundred of Berkeley; living, a chantry in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester; valued in K. B. 13l. 6s. 10½d.; chapel ded. to St. Michael; patronage with Berkeley vicarage.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland by John Gorton. The Irish and Welsh articles by G. N. Wright; Vol. I; London; Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand; 1833.

Ham

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Ham, included in Berkeley parish

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850

Hamfallow

Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales Circa 1870

Hamfallow, a tything in Berkeley parish, Gloucester.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Directories

Berkeley Bennetts Business Directory 1899
Berkeley Kellys Gloucestershire Directory 1863
Berkeley with Newport and Neighbours Slater’s Directory 1850
Berkeley Gloucestershire Principal Inhabitants Universal British Directory 1791

Administration

  • County: Gloucestershire
  • Civil Registration District: Thornbury
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Gloucester (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Pre 1836 - Gloucester, Post 1835 - Gloucester and Bristol
  • Rural Deanery: Dursley
  • Poor Law Union: Thornbury
  • Hundred: Berkeley (Gloucestershire)
  • Province: Canterbury