Berkeley, William FitzHardynge (1786 -1857)

William FitzHardinge Berkeley, 1st Earl FitzHardinge, was born at Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London, the eldest son of Frederick Berkeley, 5th Earl of Berkeley, and Mary Cole, daughter of William Cole.

There was great uncertainty over the validity of his parents' marriage. On 16 May 1796 the Earl of Berkeley had married Mary Cole at Lambeth, but the Earl alleged that a previous marriage between them had taken place at Berkeley in Gloucestershire, officiated by the Vicar of Berkeley, on 30 March 1785, but the marriage was kept secret. The couple had had six sons up to the marriage of 1796.  William Berkeley,who was styled Viscount Dursley as a courtesy title, attempted in vain to prove his legitimacy before the Committee for Privileges of the House of Lords. On his father’s death in August 1810. William applied to be summoned to the House of Lords as Earl of Berkeley. In March 1811 the Committee for Privileges decided that the Berkeley marriage of 1786 was "not then proved” and rejected the claim. William received Berkeley Castle and the other estates by his father’s will, as a result of which he claimed a writ of summons as a Baron as Baron by tenure of Berkeley Castle.Again this was rejected. The eldest son born after the 1797 Lambeth marriage of the fifth Earl, Thomas Moreton FitzHardinge Berkeley, became on the Earl's death in 1810 de jure 6th Earl of Berkeley, but he refused to claim his right to the earldom. In 1831 William Berkeley was raised to the peerage as Baron Segrave, of Berkeley Castle. In 1836 he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, a post he retained until his death, and in 1841 he became Earl FitzHardinge.

William Berkeley did not marry, though he had several mistresses. He died at Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, in October 1857, aged 70, the barony of Segrave and earldom of FitzHardinge dying with him.  The FitzHardinge title was revived in 1861 when his younger brother Maurice Berkeley was created Baron FitzHardinge

Seat / Residence(s): Berkeley Castle
Stamp(s) Stamp Information
Title: Berkeley, William FitzHardynge (1786 - 1857) (Stamp 1)
Arms: A chevron between ten crosses patty six in chief and four in base
Motto: Dieu avec nous
Supporters: Two lions dexter uncollered unchained uncrowned; sinister collared chained and crowned
Dimensions (height x width): 80mm x 67mm
Coronet: Earl
Heraldic Charges: chevron between, Heraldic Charges: crosses patty (10)
Title: Berkeley, William FitzHardynge (1786 - 1857) (Stamp 2)
Motto: Dieu avec nous
Dimensions (height x width): 34mm x 25mm
Monogram: ff
Coronet: Earl
Title: Berkeley, William FitzHardynge (1786 - 1857) (Stamp 3)
Arms: A bishop’s mitre with ties
Dimensions (height x width):
Coronet: Earl
Heraldic Charges: mitre