William Fitzhardinge Berkeley Fitzhardinge.

A narrative of the minutes of evidence respecting the claim to the Berkeley peerage, as taken before the Committee of privileges in 1811. Together with the entire evidence of the persons principally concerned. To which are added, facsimiles of the banns, and register of the marriage: extracted from online

. (page 1 of 22)
Online LibraryWilliam Fitzhardinge Berkeley FitzhardingeA narrative of the minutes of evidence respecting the claim to the Berkeley peerage, as taken before the Committee of privileges in 1811. Together with the entire evidence of the persons principally concerned. To which are added, facsimiles of the banns, and register of the marriage: extracted from → online text (page 1 of 22)
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IN 1811.


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JLF " the proper study of Mankind is Man/* as a
writer not less acute than elegant has observed, it
is presumed that a greater diversity of incident,
manners, and character has seldom presen^ted it-
self than is to be found in the following pages.
They exhibit a moral delineation of society in the
opposite extremes of high and low life, of fashion
and rusticity, ahd of course pourtray a contrast pro-
portionably striking; from Vhich, while amuse-
ment is derivedv instruction is in a manner forced
upon the reader, without the fatigue of study or
^ investigation. In such sketches of real life and
- - manners as are contained in these pages, those cir-
cumstances and events, which, any otherwise

- attested, would appear romantic, are found to be
^ ,-Teal ; the surprize thus created is agreeable, the

information genuine, and the effects of the whole
_ not less pleasing than permanent.
^ A parallel to the Earl of Berkeley may be found
% in the gallant gay Lotharios of the present and
_ other times, who have never made any scruples as

- to equality of birth, or plebeian connections, v^Yieu

i the gratification of their passions was the ob.i^^^^^ ,
^ view. Not so with Lady Berkeley ; for^ abating
T^ the imprudence of sufferins^ herself, in tib^ fij^^^

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X HOUGH the recent transactions of the Com-
mittee for Privileges, in the House of Lords, may
have rendered the name of Berkeley in some de-
gree familiar wi^hthe well-informed, the history of
this nobleman's connections cannot be considered
as complete, unless some important particulars,
which occurred in the same Committee of the
House of Lords on the investigation of the Earl
of Berkeley's peerage in 1799, are prefixed to the
present narrative.

When the Peers' Pedigree Bill was passed,
about the time alluded to, it appears it was ne-
cessary that the marriage, death, &c. of each peer
should be proved.. Accordingly, on the 27th of
May, 1799, Garter, King at Arms, being called in,
^ the pedigree of the Earl of Berkeley being pro-
duced by him and read, he was asked what know-
ledge he had of any of the facts therein stated ?
In answer to this, he informed their lordships,
that he had an extract from the register of the
marriage and death of Lord Berkeley s father, and
of his burial also, which he received with many
others^ from the Rev. Mr. Carrington, then mi-
nister of the parish of Berkeley, Being asked if
he compared them? he said, he did not; the
registers themselves being in Gloucester; neitheY

did he know whether the clersrvman himself com-

pared them, though they were written in his own

l:ftand and certified by him.

Having the next day presented the copies of the

registers alluded to, then in order to prove the


to be an extract from the Registry of Marriages of
the parish of JJerfceley in the county of.Gloucester,
as delivered to hira by Mr. Caleb Carrington.

Though this gentleman's predecessor, the Rev.
Mr. Ilupsman, had died only in the month of
November 1798, he could not recollect the period
of his own institution to the living, nor could he
say exactly to a day when the registry of the
parish came into his hands ! It was kept, he said,
by the curate* but he coiiid not tell whether nu-
merical 1}'' or not ! And though the entry of the Earl
of Berkeley's marriage was entered as 7^? it was
not, as he acknowledged in its place following
No. 73, and before 75, but upon the last leaf, and
the wrong side upvvards^; he added there was no
blank between 73 and 7«5, but another, 74, in its
place ; in fine, he afterwards described the appear-
ance and situation of the book, in the very same
terms as he used, since the death of Lord Berke-
ley; and Mr. Scriven, belonging to Lord Berke-
ley's attorney, was his coadjutor.

Mr. Carrington being afterwards ordered to
produce the original registry of the parish of
JBerkeley, together with the original book of banns
at the next meeting of the Committee ; then in-
formed that there was a second marriage, and Lord
JBerkeley, then present in his place^ acknowledging
thp same; Mr. Marmaduke Robinson produced
^ paper, an extract from the registry of marriages
of the parish of St. Mary at Lambeth, in the
county of Surrey, certified by Mr. Swabey the .
clergyman, as follows: —

'* No. 628.^-rThe Right Honourable Frederi<^|^
Aije^ustus Berkeley, Earl of Berkelf?y, a batchelor,^


day of Mayy in the year one thousand seven
hundred and ninety-six.

" By me, John Lloyd, Curate/*
" The marriage was solemnized between us,

** Frederick Augustus Berkeley,
" Mary Cole.
In the presence of " William Tudor,

" Caleb Canington/'

On the 3d of June, the Rev. Caleb Carrington
appeared Bgaan before the Committee, and pro-
duced two of the registry books of the parish of
Berkeley. In the course of the examination that
followed on this occasion, the embarrassment of
the witness was manifest, in his attempt to ac-
count for the previous concealmen i and subsequent
discovery of the r^istry of Lord Berkeley's banns,
which embarrassment was apparently increased by
his being asked, how the old registries came to oe
deposited at all at Berkeley Castle ? and whether
he did not know that the canon prescribes in what
manner he was to keep the registry ? how he could
imagine he had kept it in the manner prescribed
by the canon ? and why he did not keep the re-
gisters as the law directed ?

The singularity of Mr. Carrington's admitting
that the first time he heard Lord Berkeley express
any apprehensions relative to the loss of the entry
was not before^ but long after, Mr. Hupsman's
death, did not escape the notice of the Committee.
And besides, Mr. C. acknowledged that he was
particularly instructed to look for the entry upon
the first leaves, and this by Lord Berkeley himself.

As to Richard Barns, the person who was sup-
posed to have witnessed this singular marriage by
bis mark, Mr. Carrington, even at that early periodic
did not know, nor had ever asked, who he was .


doubt that it was the hand writing of the de-
ceased Mr. Hupsman ; neither did he ever hear of
of Lord Berkeley's first marriage till after the death
of Mr. Hupsman.

From the further examination of Mr. Carrington,
it appeared that Mr. Tudor, brother to Lady
Berkeley, supposed to have been a witness to the
first marriage, was indisputably a witness to the
second at Lambeth church, and was then an
Assistant-Commissary at Maidstone in Kent, and
that he did not express any difficulty at certifying
to the se<*ond marriage, in which it was stated that
Lord Berkeley was a batchelor and Mary Cole a
spinster^ when he had been a witness to the first
marriage !

Lady Berkeley, this witness admitted, was not
generally called Lady Berkeley, till after the second
marriage ; nor was the youngest or the eldest son
then called Lord Dursley. Before this marriage,
he also stated, that some of the servants having
called her so at Little Hampton, were forbid to
repeat this appellation. As to the concealment of
the register, the witness believed that Lord Berke-
ley in some degree sanctioned it.
• The evidence of Mr. John Scriven, who assisted
Mr. Carrington in searching for the register, was
nearly a repetitian of what had been stated by his
predecessor !

Mr. William Tudor being called, and asked if
he was present at the marriage of the Earl of
Berkeley in 178^, as stated in the pedigree? ac-
knowledged that, and his hand writing, and that at
the time, it was Lord Berkeley's request that the
marriage should be kept a secret. Of the hour of
marriage this witness was ignorant, nor did he
know whether there was any body in the churchy
hftsides \\\e siihsrnhTno" i\ntnpssps ! The hodv of


part of the book it was in ; and to the question
whether he made any objection to attending Lord
Berkeley to church the second time ? he answered,
None ; I urged the necessity of it.

Respecting Richard Bams, the other witness^
Mr. Tudor could not tell whether he attested the
register first or last, though, to the best of his
recollection, he himself signed first. Being asked
how did the other ? he answeted, he could not
write. What was he ? I really cannot say what :
I never saw him till I met him in the church with
Lord Berkeley: he knew nothing of him before or
since : not where he lived, nor whether he was
Hving or dead !

The witness further stated that he had consulted
the late Mr. Bearcroft as to the legality of his
sister's marriage; and upon its being observed to
him, that it would be proper to produce that paper
upon which he took the opinion of counsel, he
answered, that he had not got it — that he did not
keep it ; that he could not even say whether he
left it with the counsel or brought it back ; the
information he received from Mr. Bearcroft was by
word of mouth.

To ascertain the period of the birth of Lord
Berkeley's children, viz. William Fitzhardinge,
Morton Fitzhardinge, and Augustus Fitzhardinge,
Mrl Francis Townsend, Windsor Herald, produced
a paper containing several extracts from the re-
gistry of the parish of St. George, Hanover-square;
and others were also brought from St. Martin s
in the Frelds. Mr. Carrington produced a cer-
tificate of the burial of Francis Ducie Fitzhardinge^,
son of the Earl of Berkeley, buried in the famil>^
vault at Cranford, on the^2Uh of |Iarc^^X^f »
with others of births, christenincrs, &c.

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the evidence given against him ; and his brother,
Morton Fitzhardinge, is only in his fifteenth year,
and cannot claim to be called to the House oi
Peers till he shall have reached twenty-one.

The eldest son of the alledged marriage in 1785
is put into this curious predicament. He was
forced to quit the House of Commons as being a
Peer, and not allowed to enter the House of Lords
as being a Commoner. May he not petition the
House of Commons to resume his seat as he was
turned out on a false pretence ?

All that is further necessary to be known re-
specting the Berkeley claim, may be traced from
the following sketch : — This business, which has
occupied so much time in the House of Lords, was
brought forward early in the session, on the pe-
tition of William Fitzhardinge Berkeley, stating
himself to be the eldest son and heir apparent of
the late Earl of Berkeley, and therefore entitled
of right to the honours and dignities possessed by
his father. It being known that the late Earl was
publicly nmnied to the present Countess of Berke-
ley in May 1796, and the son of that marriage
born in October 1796, being a minor, the House
addressed the Prince Regent to appoint one of the
Law Officers of the Crown to appear for him, to
take care of his interests. The case then came
on to be heard. Mr. Serjeant Best, Sir Samuel
Romilly, and Mr. A. Moore, attending as counsel
for the .claimant, who claimed under a marriage
alleged to have taken place between his father
the late Earl^ and the present Countess, on the
30th of March 1785, at Berkeley church. The
Solicitor-General and Mr. Harrison attending on
behalf of the son of the undisputed nvarri-age in
1796, who failing, the claim g[ the claimant was


On the part of the son born in the year
1796, evidence was adduced to shew, that it
was impossible the alledged publication of
banns in 1784, or marriage in 1785, could have
taken place. A great number of witnesses were
examined. It was proved that Lord Berkeley, in
his own hand-writing, minuted down the form in
which the baptism of his children by Lady Berke-
ley, then living with him under the name of Miss
Tudor, should be registered; and which was, pre-
vious to 1796, uniformly as the illegitimate children
of the Earl of Berkeley and Mary Cole ; that his
lordship ^wore himself to be a batchelor in 1796, to
obtain a licence for his marriage with Lady Berke-
^^y, denominated in the affidavit Mary Cole,
^Anster ; and that with respect to the son born
aft^r that marriage his lordship in his own hand*
W'lting minuted down the form for the registry of
his baptism, expressly denominating him Lord
Duisley, son of the Earl and Countess of Berkeley.
The life of her ladyship was also traced in evidence
from the death of her father, William Cole, (who
lived at Wooton, in Gloucestershire), in December
1782, or Jan. 1783, her coming to London, her
going into the service of Lady Talbot, afterwards
in March 1784, into the service of Mrs. Foote, in
Kent, which she quitted at the end of December
1784, and came to London ; went to Gloucester
in June 1785, and came to London again in the
autumn of that year. Evidence was also given of
declarations of Lady Berkeley and of Lord Berke-
ley, at different times, between 1785 and 1796,
indicating that they were not married. Several
witnesses were likewise examined to prove that

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never heard any such banns published, nor were
they heard by any one who was in the habit of
attending Berkeley church at that' period. The
name of Augustus Thomas Hupsman, the Vicar
of Berkeley, signed to the registry of the marriage,
was declared by his widow not to be like his hand-
writing, and the rest of the registry was proved to
be in the hand-writing of Lord Berkeley, including
the words " the mark of Richard Bams,*' who
was stated to be a stranger, who had been called
in to witness the marriage, but who, it appeared,
had never since been heard of, and no such person
was known. Evidence was likewise adduced to
shew that Lord Berkeley was not acquainted with
Lady Berkeley till late in the year 178o. Lady
Berkeley having stated in her evidence that she
became ill soon after her marriage, and continued
so for a considerable period in London and at
Gloucester, during which his lordship scarcely
ever saw her; evidence was adduced to shew that
her illness at Gloucester was of a trifling nature.

Witnesses were then finally called by the House
of Lords, whose testimony went to shew that the
first known intimacy between Lord and Lady
Berkeley was not till the autumn of 17S5, and one
of whom, the Marquis oPBuckingham, deposed to
repeated conversations between his lordship and
Lord Berkelev, in which the latter stated himself
not to be married to the person then living with
him, now Lady Berkeley, by whom he had chil-
dren ; and that he actually proposed to the Noble
Marquis to become a mediator with his brother.
Admiral Berkeley, to engage to marry his eldest son
to an illegitimate daughter (by Mary, now Countess
Berkeley) in which case he would setjle^th^^^t^^^



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^■^hE first sittiu^ of the Ck>minittee of Privileges com-
-^ meiioed e» Monday, March 4, 1811, when. Lord
Wakingham being in the chair, the petition of William
FiTXHAADiNGE BsjtK£LiLY, ctaiming as of right to be
Earl of Berkeley, Viscount Dursley, and Baron Berkeley,
with his Majesty's refecence thereof to the House of Lords,
and tile Report of bis Mayesty's Attomey^General there-
unto annexed, were read. Afterwards, an instruction to
tike Committee was read, to consider in the first instance
what proceedings ought to be directed by the House to be
adopted, in oid^ that due attestioo may be secured to any
interest whicb any son or sona of the late Earl of Berkeley,
bom after the 16th day of May, 1796^ may have in the
dignities claimed, and that they dp report to the House
thereupon.— An humble address was also proposed to be
presented to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, to
request his order that the Solicitor-General do attend the
House on the hearit^ of the petition of William Fitzhard^
inge Berkeley, &c.

On the 7th of March t^e letters patent of nobility,
^nted to the Berkeley family in the reign of Charles 11*
were delivered in and read. After this, to prove thaX
Frederick Augustus, late Earl of Berkeley, sat first i^*-
parllaroent on the 5th of June, 1766, Edward Parratt, jut»^
was called in. Then Sir Samuel Romilly proposing: to piov^
the death of the late Earl, EDWARD JENNER, IVLP-
w*i called in, and being sworn, was examijied as follo^?vs :

You attended the late Lord Berkeley in his last illness?
Wh«i did be die?— On the 8th of August last
Do you know that he died on that day .^ — Most ceFt:aiiiIV'

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After the necessary foiros had been gone through, the
Hou^ adjourned till the 8th of March, when the minutes
of the last Committee being read, and the counsel called in,
the Right Hon. MARY Countess of BERKELEY was
called, and a chair being jplaced for her, her ladyship
came to the table, and having been sworn by the Lord
Chancellor, was examined as follows:

When was your ladyship first married to the late Earl
of Berkeley ?-r-On the 30th of March, 1785.
' Where was that marriage solemnized ?^— In the parish
church of Berkeley.

Who was the clergyman that solemnized that marriage ?
r^The Rev. Mr. Hupsman.

Who were present at the time of the solemnization of
that marriage P'T-My brother Mr. Tudor, and the clerk,
^pd the late Earl of Berkeley.

Was it the regular clerk of the parish who attended on
that occasion ?-— No, I believe not.

Does your ladyship know who brought that person there
who officiated as clerk?: — I understood Mr. Hupsman
brought him there.

Does your ladyship know who that person was ? — No,
J do not

Was the marriage duly registered at the time ? — Yes, I
think it was ; I am sure it was.

Did your ladyship sign your name to that registry ?t-
Yes,! did

Thea Mr. Serjeant Best, of counsel fqr the petitioner,
proposed to produce the registry of the marriage of th^
Earl of Berkeley in the year 1785, not for the purpose of
going into all the evidence relative to it, but that the
Countess of Berkeley might speak as to the signatures

'Whereupon EDWAl^D PARRATT, sen, was called
in, and having been sworn, produced a book, intituled,
**The Register of Marriages solemnized in the ParislJ
Church of Berkeley, in the Cpuntry of Gloucester ;" and
was examined as follows ;

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The witness turned to an ^ntiy in &e same, which was
read asfolfews:

•*Na 74.— Frederic* Augustus Earl of Berkeley, of
** diis parish^ batdielor, and Maiy Cole^ of the same,
** spinstar,' were married in this church, by banns, this
** thirtieth day bf March, in the year one thousand seven
** hundred and eighty-five; by me,

** Augustus Thomas Hupsman, Vicar.
** This marriage was solennuzed 1 Berkeley,
" between us j Mary Cole.

•* In the presence of W. Tudor.
•* The mark of XI Bichard Barns.

The entry was shewn to the Countess of Berkeley, and
her Ladyship was further examined as follows:

Will your Ladyship state to the Committee whether the
name *• Mary Cole,*' affixed to that entrv, is your Lady-
ship's hand- writing, and was written at that time ?-^Yes;
and it was written at the time.

Will your Ladyship state whether the natne ** Berke«
ley," is the hand- Writing of Lord Berkeley, and was
written at the time ? — Yes; it is the hand-writing of Lord
Berkeley^ and was written at the time.

Was the name^ Augustus Thomas Hupsman, written at
the time ? — Yes ; it is the hand- writing of Mr. fiupsman ;
and that name was written at the time.

Was the name of William Tudor, which your Ladyship
will find there as a witness, written at the time^ aira by
Mr. Tudor? — Yes, it was*

Was that marriage immediately avowed, or was it kept
a secret ? — ^It was kept secret.

When was it first proposed to the Earl of Berkeley that
that marriage which your Ladyship has stated to the
House was kept secret should be avowed? — I cannot
exactly tell.

Does your Ladyship recollect, when it was proposed to
Lwd Berkeley that that marriate should be avowed, the
teasons that Lord Berkeley gave tor the furiiier conceal
ment of that marriage ?— Yes, I do recollect them-

Have the goodness to stjtte them ? — l^rd Berk* ley gave
me as a reason that the registry had been destroyed, and
that it could not be avowed without e^reat risk to the

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ley, was it determined Aat the teatriage should still be
loept seci^et?*— Yes, it was.

Does yotir Ldwlyship l<ecol}GPct cotmilttn^ iHibh ^any itnd
what prof(b57sioimi man^ asnd whotis inspecting what w«8 iXy
fee done «mdet the iftot of the i<egii^y having been de-
stroyed ? — Yes, I consumed Mr. Bdarcrofti

When tlid yoiir Ladyship consult Mr. Bearcroft? — ^I do
not exactly recol*e<* the chte; it was hefere tfat sftobnd
marriage took filace.

Will your Ladyship b^ .g6od enoogh to State to the

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryWilliam Fitzhardinge Berkeley FitzhardingeA narrative of the minutes of evidence respecting the claim to the Berkeley peerage, as taken before the Committee of privileges in 1811. Together with the entire evidence of the persons principally concerned. To which are added, facsimiles of the banns, and register of the marriage: extracted from → online text (page 1 of 22)