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 7 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 7 of 22)
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Two or three times anerwards, he also acknowledged
. that much was said about the registry, when his lordship
suggested and pressed the prc^riety of examining the
same very accurately, and it was determined upon at his
chambers, by Lord Berkeley and Mr. Boodle, that the
clergyman Mr. Carrington, and another person, should
be sent down to Berkeley immediately, to search for the
registiy. His lordship thought he might then also have
-given an opinion respecting the propriety of a second
marriage, but could not recollect what that opinion was ;
and he allowed it was probable he might have said that a
second marriage might raise questions respecting tlie

The counsel were again called in ; and the Lord Wal-
singham informed them, that the committee had resolved
that the deposition of the Earl of Berkeley, offered in
evidence on the 3d of May last as a declaration, could not
be received.

Then Mr. Serjeant Best, of counsel for the petitioner,
informed the committee, that he felt it Jiis duty to state,
that the remaining evidence he proposed to offer, con-
sisted of two lettej^, written by the late Earl of Berkel^,
one to a peer of this house, the other to the Prince Regent;
though he could not state that the matter in question wa«
not in dispute previous to either of those letters being
written* There were also several declarations made by
the late Earl of Berkeley at different times to his roysi
highness the Prince Regent, though he was not certain
that any of them were made previous to the discussion
which took place in this house in the year 1799. If that
proceeding should be considered as a sufficient agitation
of the matter now in questi<Hi to effect the evidence he so
had to ofer, he could only bow with submission to the
decision of the house; but "if it should be thought adraissi-
We, he was ready to pi-oduce it in any manner the house
in their wisdom might think proper to adopt on the oc-

Mr. Sohcitor General was heard to object to the cyi-^
dence, as being precisely of the same nature as that which [^
the house had lust decided could not be received.

( 76 )

tircre produced by the Rev. Caleb Carrineton, consisting
of five books. When being asked what he knew of the
death of Mr. Hiipsman, the former vicar, he answered,
he only knew hy hearsay, which he believed was tolerably
authentic ; that he had been vicar so many years ; he had
no doubt of his b^ing dead ; he succeeded him ; but he
knew of no fact connected with his death or interment,
though he believed he was buried at Cranford.

After beinff questioned as to the knowledge of the vari-
ous hand-writings in the books, the registry of baptisms
in the year 1799 was shewn to the witness, and he said,
" It follows the baptism of the 25th of March, 1799.
When I was sent to inquire, on account of proving th«
pedigree, for the registries of different persons of Lord
jSerkeley's family, that of the Countess Dowager of
Berkeley could not be found ; Mr. Lewis, the then curate,
went some where and got information of the date of it.
The baptism of Thomas Moreton Fitzhardinge, who was
baptized by myself, had also been omitted to be registered.
I at that time having no connection with the parish, and
merely acting in the family as chaplain to Lord Berkeley,
recollecting the month in which he was baptized, but not
th^ day of the month, I made this entry, at that time in
the presence of Mr. Lewis the curate, and with his ap-
probation, which entry is " 1796 omitted, Thomas More-
ton Fitzhardinffe, son of the Earl and Countess of Berke-
ley, born Octoner 19th, 1796; was baptized at Berkeley
Castle in December following, by Caleb Carrington,
chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley.'*

Are you to be understood that it was in 1799 that you
made this correction in the registry ? — It was in 1799; thi^
insertion in the registry is between the 25th of March and
the 5th of May following.

And it was then on the 5th of June, in the same year,
that you stated in yowr evidence, that you had compared
the extract with the original ? — With this very original.

Which original was created in the month of May in the
same year, is that to be so understood ? — I did not know
till I saw the books but that Mr. Lewis or some person by
iho. A\ve^oi\nn ftf thp fainilv. had reoriaterer^. ijt^^ the time[^

( 77 )

It does not appear in the printed evidence of 1799, that
any statement was made in that report, of the omission
and of the subsequent insertion of tnis re^^istry ; whether
you did in your evidence at the time you delivered in this
extract exfrfain that circumstance ? — I do not know that I
did ; I should have thought probably, that it was unne-
cessary, as the establishment of the fact of this person's
birth seemed to me to be the whole that was sought after
by the inquiiy .

Then you did consider this to be a correct and sufficient
report of the entry, and the circumstance of so recent a
correction of the entry not of sufficient imp<Mlance to be
reported? — I beg leave to state, that that is not quite
correct. This was no correction, for there never was any
other entry on the subject*

Are you then to be understood that you did not deem it
a material circumstance to state the entnr of a baptism to
have been made three years after it had taken place ?—
Certainly, I did think it was not necessary ; such omi»*
sions often ham>en, and are inserted as soon as they are
recollected. The registry of the Countess Dowag^ dT
Berkeley was in the same situation, never entered.

What material circumstance was in existence that
brought this registry, or the omission of this registry, to
your recollection ?-— I was sent to Berkeley to make out,
or trace the registries of all the family of L^ord Berkeley,
to be found in the parish registry books of Berkeley^

What is the house to understand you to mean i^ mak*

iflg out or tracing ; was it to supply omissions, such as this

which you did supply, or what else is to be undardtood by

the term ^ to make out?" — To make out copies for thie

purpoae of laying before this house in the pedigree busi*

Bess. They were all found in the books except two, one

of the late Countess of BerkeW, which Mr. Xewis sup«

jrfied firom some other evidence firom some information he

^ot; this being thus, was supplied firom myownknow-

^wdjse, as I was personally acquainted with the fiict.

JDid you know when you made that entry that the bap*
Cnaa had been registered in St. Martin's Church ?— I di^

^^^ I registered in St. Martin's Church ?— I did not.

"Was it the ceremony of the Amend of the Countess off
B ms.m I fPlpv ihnt waa nmitfpd ?— V#m • nf tliA fiineral i thcrie

( 78 )

evidence, that he never traced the reeistrj <^ Lord
Berkeley's marriage in the Bishop of Gloucester's re-

The business of the Lords on the 16th of May was^
principally made up with the examination of the registries
of the baptisms and burials of several of the parties con*
cemed. particularly the sons and daughters of Lord and
Lady Berkeley.

Mr. Joseph Sharpe, a clerk in the Faculty OiBce, Doc-
tor's Commons, also appeared, and produced the affidd.vit
made by Lord Berkeley, previous to his obtaining his
licence for a marriage with Mary Cole. Another instru-
ment was produced, being a bond that all parties enter
into, previous to obtaining a licence. It is a bond to the
bishop of the diocese.

£dward Toller, a proctor in the Commons, acknow-
ledged Lord Berkeley's coming to him in 1796, no other
person bein^ with mm, when he was sure the affidavit
before mentioned was either read over to his lordship, or,
that he took it and read it himself; and that he had full
time to comprehend the contents of it.

It appeared that when parties previously married are
desirous of being married a second time, they usually
state the feet of the first marriage. The witness recol-
lected that Lord Berkeley made no mention of a previous
marriage at the period alluded to ; and that if he had
done so, the witness affirmed, he would not have prepared
an affidavit in which he stated himself to be a bachelor,
and the lady a spinster.

Anne Foote, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Foote, being ex-
amined, stated, that she lived at Broughton Malherd, in
Kent, about forty-six miles from London, and that on
Mardi 4, 1784, she received into her employment a lady,
afterwards Lady Berkeley, in the capacity principally of
lady V maid ; that she lived with her from March to the
eftd of December, about ten months, previous to which
Mrs. Foote received a letter from the lady's sister, re-
questinf that Mary Cole might leave her place rather
bef(Mre the month of warning was expired. Being asked
to produce that request, the following letter was shewn

•™ >^d ' Digitized by GoOQIc

" Madam,

( 79 )

too gresA a fitvour tkat my sister may come to town the
week after Christmas aa I am oUi^ed to go in the countiy
the week following, and sho' be happy to see her before
I g;o. I beg Madam I may not make it hQl convenantto
you or give you the smallest trouble would reather suffisr
any disc^pintment niy selfe then be thought impirtinant or
regardless of your mvour to my sister, ^ poor thing has
long been in want of a firiend said she tells me but for you
kindness to her she would have been more unfortunate
exkuse me Madam for saying heaven will reward your
generous condecention to my sister and beleave me 1 am
with real hunulity your humble sir^

About a fortnight after on the 28th of December, Lady
Berkeley quitted Mrs. Foote's house ; who on being

Suestioned as to the dress and attire of her servant, in-
icating that she was supplied with money from another
quarter, replied none in the least, but that she was rather
short of clothes. During the period of Lady Berkeley's
living with Mrs. Foote, the latter had not the least reas<m
to suspect that any communication or intercourse was
goin^ on between ner and Lord Berkeley. Being asked
whether during Lady Berkeley's stay at her house she
had been absent any time, Mrs. Foote answered, once in
May, and two or three other short visits : and she thought
it impossible that Lady Berk^y could have gone to the
village of Lenham without b^r knowledge, unless when
Mrs. Foote was dining out.

It appeared that Anna Powel, who lived as housekeeper
with Mrs. Foote, left her service to go into Gkmeester-
shire, in March, 1785, first ^ing to Lond<m; and that
Mrs. Foote had communicated the dates of the time when
Lady Beri^eley came into her service, and when she left
it, to a Mrs. Cheston in Gloucestershire, m^arch or
April, 1810, as she supposed for Lady Berk^y.

Mrs. Foote being asked if she received any sum of
money, or any offer of that nature ? s)ie acknowledged
that in the beginning of April, 181i, she had an ofpw by
letter of fifty pounds to pay her expeiKes into Glouoes-

Aftrs. Tumour's letter to Mrs. Foote, expressing that
i^r sister had been under particular olrfigati0n» to Mw»

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( 81 >

Ufj in the preseaoe «f Aathoay HamiltoQ, D. D. ricsu: of '
St Martin's. The following was added to the former
attestation of the marriafre, signed

AUG. raOS. HUPSMAN, Vicar.



^ AHhottrh my wife is named in the registering of my
dnldren, Mary Cole, she wa3 then in fact Countess of
Berkley, mj marriage with her (which at the date of
this entry was kept secret) having taiken jdace on the
80th d^y of March^ 1785, taa appears by the register of
Bcribdesf ^^nsh, now deposited in the House of Lords, a
copy of which is herewith annexed. BERKELEYJ'

Joseph Pitt, Esq. a solicitor, in the county of Glou-
cester, bmg sworn relative to his examination of the
Berkeley register on the 15th of April, 1799, when the
family ped^ee was investigated, gave evidence as fol-
lows 5

I peeked instmctions to be exceedingly particular in
the exannnation of the register of Berkelay, for the pur-
pose of endeavouring to find, if I could, any entry re-
specting the kcte hard Berkeley's marriage. I felt it a
tfailig of very ctmsiderable consequence, and therefore
altehdedl to k as much as I possibly could. I searched
Ae ho6k from the beginning to the end repeatedly ; not
finding it the first or the second time I believe, I then
searcmd it widi a view to see whether it was possible that
any trick might have been practised, so that it might elude
a omnroon inspection ; but notwithstanding that 1 found
^nothing of the sort. I came to the last leaf of the faocA ;
I theif^ found that the upper part of the last leaf was re*
maining, the lower part not visiUe : firom that circum-
stance 1 was led to suspect that in that particular part of
the book there might have been some trick played *, I
tberefere was more minute with respect to my attention
18 t9 that part, and notwithstanding all that minuteness,
and I could not do it more minutely and carefiiUy tl^n I
did, I saw nothing like an entry respecting Lord Berke*
ley's marriage, nor did I discover it; this part was as it

M nMmt 1 kAli^wA l%n4. *\^lm *«n»* -n—wH w^^tA ^^^^^aA %wm% ttS yt* mf%m 1

Digitized by VjOOQ IC

( 82 )

heen loose so as to be vemoveable by the hand, do jou
think you must have observed it ? —If it had been loose
in any way whatever, from the great care with which I
examined the book, I do think, upon my oath, it is impos-
sible it could have escaped my observation.

You observe now tnat the lower part of one of the
leaves is removed ; is that the leaf of which you spoke of
the lower part being removed, and the upper part re-
maining? — Yes; the upper part remained m this way;
the part here I did not see.

Tnis leaf was, with respect to the lower part, in the
same state in which it is now, with the lower part cut off?

Did you turn over the leaf that was* so cut? — Yes.

Did you examine whether you could discover any
inarks on the other side ? — I did.

And you were not able to discover any thing about it ?
— I did not discover any thing like what now appears.

Was your attention particularly directed, when you
found one part of the leaf cut, to that part of the book? —
It was, from the circumstance of its being cut.

Did you observe any pucker in any part of this leaf, or
any one circumstance that indicated there was any thing
benind it ? — I observed no pucker whatever ; but I am
convinced it would have led me to make a further search
as to the cause of it.

In whose presence did you make this search? — In the
presence of Mr. Simmons, steward of Lord Berkeley.

Did you make any search at another time afterwards for
the same purpose? — On the i7th of May following I
searched the book again.

Bot] the searches were in the year 1799 ? — Yes. ,

What did you find on the second search ? — Immediately
almost that I opened the book 1 discovered the register
to be as it now appears, open ; it was very visible, but that
I account for more from the circumstance of its having
been examined after I was there the first time, and be-
fore I was there the second time, by two gentlemen who
certified the fact of its having been found, and the seals
were put on, which led*iny attention I believ£rmOTe.iim-
* mediately to the subject. ^^i ized by ^ODgre


( 83 )

leaves ?-rTo the best of my recollection I did ; I remem*
ber prettj strongly this paper, and that too I think.

-Before you made the second search, had you heard
where the entry that you were to search for was ? — I re-
ceived an intimation firom a noble lord, that if- 1 were to
search the register a^in, he had reason to believe that I
should find an alteration in it, and therefore desired that
I would examine it for that purpose, to see whether there
was that alteration ; I therefore did search it,, and found
the alteration I have now described.

Did you previously to the first search receive any inti-
mation where particularly you should look for the entry ?
— No, I did not, further than I was told by letter that it
was about the year 1785, 1 think ; that if I searched about
that time, if there was any entry, it was supposed to be
about that time.

You have said that you were t61d that there had been
some alteration between the time of your first search and
the second ; does it appear that in point of fact there had
■been any alteration between the first search and the
second? — Yes, the alteration, if any, was this part of the
register appearing the second time, and my not having
seen it the first:

Is there any entry made in that part which is visible,
that must have been made between the first search and
the second ? — Yes, this certificate signed by Mr. Carring*

Of what date is that certificate ?— The 22d of April,
1799. It was also signed by W. G. Cracraft, Edwai*d
Boodle, James Simmonds, as to its having been cont-
pared with another part of the sheet

These seals the witness did not observe the first time,
and he admitted that the certificate imports that they were
put after he had searched the entry.

William Fendail, Esq. being sworn, admitted t\iat he
was a barrister by profession, principally '^^^^^'^SJJ^
Gloucester, since he married and settled there in oOf
tember, 1786, and that he used to go the circuits to
Monmouth, Hereford, and Worcester, and attend Ito
quarter sessions at Gloucester, which he particularly re-
collected attendinff in Julv, 1785, on Wednesday t:he 1^

Digitized by


( 85 )

or the ladies, you drank tea there that afternoon? — ^Not
being perfectly satisfied that I did drink tea there, I can-
not answer the question.

But you staid a considerable time there that afternoon ?

Do you recollect any part of the conversation, or the
turn of the subjects of conversation during the time you
were there with those ladies? — Not particulariy, cer-

How did you introduce yourself or begin the conversa*
tion.with tliese ladies, you being a stranger? — It is impos-
sible at this distance of time to say how I did it ; I cer-
tainly paid that attention to a very fiandsome woman whom
1 found there, which a man might be very naturally ex-
pected to pay.

By that person you have so described, which of the
sisters do you mean so to describe ? — Lady Berkeley.

You knew the other to be Mrs. Farren, the wife of the
Mr. Farren you knew ? — I cannot say that I knew it at the-
time; but when I repeated my visit 1 knew it certainly ; I
cannot take upon me to say I knew it that day.

Was it to Lady Berkeley your attentions were particu-
larly directed ? — Certainly.

How were they received ? — Not particularly objected tOy
and with no particular degree of forwardness ; I do not
recollect that there was any thing particulariy forward in
Lady Berkeley's conduct; nor did she appear offended
with my conduct.

She conversed familiarly with you ? — ^Yes.

D.uring the time you were endeavouring to make your-
self acceptable, was there any thin^ to discourage you in
the prosecution of that object ? — I no not take upon me to
say that there was any thing either particularly encou-
raging or discouraging; there was a couversationip^xssed
between us, but I should suppose that conversation whicJk
is likely to take place between a young man and a youti^
woman so circumstanced. v \ A

Was there any thing passed during l\vat visit ^^^^^^\
you in the smallest degi-ee to suppose that that laA^y yf^
married woman ?— Certainlj nothing. ^■^^,^^^, by-GoQgfeA

C 86 )

The witness withdrawing, and being again called io^
was asked,

Can you now recollect any thing more particular that
passed at this lirst visit ? — I cannot.

Upon your going away, was any thing said on either
side of an intention to renew your visits? — I do not recol-
lect that there was ; there might be.

About what time in the day was it that the first visit was
paid ? — It might be seven or eight o'clock ; seven I think ;
it was after dmner; I recollect perfectly.

Was any other person with you during this first visit ?—
Whether any person was with me w'hile I was walking :
I rather think there was.

He then proceeded to state, that he renewed his visit on
the Friday after dinner about seven o'clock, going up into
the same room where he had been before, where he found
Lady Berkeley alone ; he could not tell exactly how he
introduced himself further than by intimating, that having
, visited her before, he was in consequence come to visit her
again. He said she intimated neither surprize nor objec-
tion; that he staid and drank tea with Lady Berkeley
alone ; but he acknowledged that inviting himself, she only
acquiesced in it. Though he could not exactly recollect
the conversation, he asserted, that nothing was said by her
intimating that she was a married woman. He visited her
four times upon the whole, always in the afternoon ; but
being asked whether, during the third time Lady Berkeley
was alone ? he could not say whether her sister, Mrs. Far-
ren, was present or not. Though he drank tea there twice,
he could not recollect the particular days ; he thought he
staid about the same time each visit. On what particular
day he could not recollect when Mr. Farrcn, the husband
of Mrs. Farren, came into the room.

Being asked, whether at that time there was any female
in the room except Lady Berkeley, he answered.

No ; I remember perfectly well there was not.

State what was passing between you and Lady Berkeley
at the time Mr. Farren came into the room ? — Premising,
that nothing criminal, I solemnly declare, ever did pass
between Lady Berkeley and myself, I must submit to their

( 87 )

something of that sort might be passing ; but I most so-
lemnly declare, that nothing criminal ever passed between
Lady Berkeley and myself.

What was the nature of the liberties, if any, that were
passing when Mr. Farren came into the room ? — I certainly
was twin«^ liberties with Lady Berkeley at fliat time, un-

Was it with or against her consent ?— Certainly with a
degree of reluctance on her part.

What was the nature of the liberties you were then
taking ? — I was saluting her.

Were you upon the ground with her ? — I rather think
not ; but I will not take upon me particularly to say.
There was a moment, I believe, when by accident she had
slipped off her chair, and whether it was at that moment
Mr. Farren came in, I will not take upon me to say.

During any part of that time was any the least intima-
tion given to you by Lady Berkeley, that she was a mar-
ried woman ? — Certainly not.

Did you receive firom Laity Berkeley during this time,
or at any time during the visits, any reprimand or condem-
nation of what had passed ? — Lady Berkeley certainly did
occasionally express reluctance at bberties that I attempted
to take.

Was that during the period those liberties were taking,
or before or after &em ? — She expressed a reluctance every
time I attempted to take any liberties of that kind, cer-

After that passed, had you any communication with
Lady Berkeley after you went to Hereford ? — ^When I was
at Hereford I "wrote to Lady Berkeley.

Did you receive any letter from Lady Berkeley? —
I did.

Is that letter in existence, or is it destroyed ? — It is lost.
I believe I may say destroyed.

State, as nearly as you can, the contents of that letter ?

(By Mr. Serjeant B^t) Was not the letter you received
in answer to the one that you had written ? — Certainly.

(By Mr. Solicitor-General.) Have the goodness then to
state the contents of that letter written by Lady Berkeley;^

Mr. Seijeant Best objected to the evidence. - '

Digitized by


( 89 )

signed merely Maria.; there was no surname added

During the time she lived with Lord Berkeley did she
pass as his wife ? — Certainly not, to my knowledge.

In his cross examination, being asked if he visited Lord
Berkeley? he answered, never; and that he had never
been in opposition to him in the county, of had any quar-
rels; he only ackifowledged expressing some surprise
after quitting the profession that Lord Berkeley did not
think proper to put him into the commission of the peace.
Whenever they met, however, they always treated eadi
other with respect.

The letter before referred to, which Mr. Fendall wrote
to Lady Berkeley, it appeared, was sent a few days after
his first interview at Gloucester, and addressed to Miss
Cole ; as for Lady Berkeley's letter to him, he proved^
that it had been acddentally burnt. He then stated, that

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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 7 of 22)