Frederick Berkeley, 5th Earl of Berkeley

Frederick Augustus Berkeley, 5th Earl of Berkeley (24 May 1745 – 8 August 1810) was a British peer.[1]

Origins and education

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 and as 13th Baron Berkeley in 1755.[2]


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.[2]

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.[3]

Marriage and issue

Berkeley and Mary Cole (who also passed under the name of Tudor), the daughter of a local publican and butcher, had seven sons and five daughters, but the disputed date of their marriage prevented their elder sons from succeeding as Earl of Berkeley and Baron Berkeley. They 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, at which date she was pregnant with their seventh child.[2][4]

He settled Berkeley Castle upon their eldest son, William FitzHardinge Berkeley, but William's attempt to assume his father's honours were disallowed by the House of Lords, who considered him illegitimate.

Berkeley's titles devolved as a matter of law upon his fifth but first legitimate son, Thomas Morton Fitzhardinge Berkeley (1796–1882), but were never used by him and he did not take his seat in the House of Lords. Per his father's will, he would have lost his small inheritance had he disputed his eldest brother's claim to the titles.[2][1]

  • William FitzHardinge Berkeley (1786–1857), created Baron Segrave of Berkeley Castle on 10 September 1831 and Earl FitzHardinge on 17 August 1841 in compensation for losing his father's titles; died unmarried
  • Admiral Maurice Frederick FitzHardinge Berkeley (1788–1867), Royal Navy officer, created 1st Baron FitzHarding of Bristol on 5 August 1861 after unsuccessfully trying to claim the Barony of Berkeley following his elder brother's death;married Lady Charlotte Lennox, daughter of 4th Duke of Richmond and secondly Lady Charlotte Reynolds-Moreton, daughter of 1st Earl of Ducie, and had issue by his first wife
  • Augustus FitzHardinge Berkeley (26 March 1789 – 27 December 1872), married in 1815 Mary Dashwood-King, daughter of Sir John Dashwood-King, 3rd Baronet
  • Francis Henry FitzHardinge Berkeley (7 December 1794 – 10 March 1870), politician
  • Maria FitzHardinge Berkeley (2 April 1790 – buried 2 June 1793), died young[5]
  • Henrietta FitzHardinge Berkeley (13 June 1793 – by 1819)

Born after the recognised marriage of 1796:[2][1]

  • Thomas Moreton FitzHardinge Berkeley, de jure 6th Earl of Berkeley (19 October 1796 – 27 August 1882), died unmarried
  • George Charles Grantley FitzHardinge Berkeley (10 February 1800 – 20 February 1881)
  • Mary Henrietta FitzHardinge Berkeley (4 October 1801 – 19 November 1873), died unmarried
  • Caroline FitzHardinge Berkeley (12 April 1803 – 20 January 1886) married James Maxse and had issue
  • Craven FitzHardinge Berkeley (28 July 1805 – 1 July 1855), married first, Augusta St Paul in 1839 daughter of Sir Horace St Paul, 1st Baronet, and had issue:
    • Louisa Milman, 15th Baroness Berkeley
  • Emily Elizabeth FitzHardinge Berkeley (30 April 1807 – 30 March 1895), married Capt. Sydney Augustus Capel


  1. Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 351. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  2. Cokayne's Complete Peerage, Volume II (St Catherine Press, London, 1912), at pages 142-143
  3. George W. E. Russell, Collections & Recollections (revised edition, Smith Elder & Co, London, 1899), at page 5.
  4. "Mary Cole: Victim or Villain?" (PDF). Berkeley Buttress: Newsletter of Friends of Berkeley Castle. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  5. London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Augustus Berkeley, 4th Earl of Berkeley
Earl of Berkeley
Succeeded by
Thomas Berkeley, 6th Earl of Berkeley
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