BERKELEY, Sir Maurice II (c.1579-1617), of Bruton, Som.
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Family and Education
Steward of manors of South Stoke and Corton, Som. 1601; j.p. from c.1602, dep. lt. 1608.2
Berkeley was brought into Parliament while still under age by his father-in-law. His name is not mentioned in the parliamentary journals of 1597. His family status was sufficient for him to be returned as knight of the shire for Somerset in 1601. Apart from committees to which he was automatically appointed as knight of the shire, dealing with the order of business (3 Nov.), clothworkers (18 Nov.), the Severn harbour (21 Nov.) and monopolies (23 Nov.), he was also named to committees concerning letters patent (17 Nov.) and cloth (21 Nov.).
Berkeley went to Cadiz with the Earl of Essex in 1596, and in January 1598 was one of a number of young men who offered to accompany Sir Robert Cecil, his distant relation, on an embassy to France, but there is no evidence that he went. In August he asked Cecil for a military appointment, preferably at sea, or, if there was ‘no place left’, in command of a troop of horse, though he added that hitherto he had been ‘a truant to the wars’ and could not ‘brag of much more knowledge of it than books have afforded him’, yet would ‘supply all wants with industry and resolution’. Three years later he succeeded to the family seat of Bruton, but he was never in occupation as his mother, who had a life interest, survived him. This, together with the fact that many of his father’s lands had been bequeathed to his younger brothers, probably accounts for his dying ‘far indebted’ 1 May 1617, after an active parliamentary and county career in the reign of James I. In his will, dated 26 Apr. and proved 8 July 1617, he mentioned his five sons Charles, Henry, Maurice, William and John and his father-in-law Sir William Killigrew. He provided dowries of £2,000 and £1,500 respectively for his daughters Margaret and Jane, though it is doubtful whether these were paid. He appointed Robert Killigrew, Sir John Horner, Robert Hopton, and Edward Bisse as overseers.3
HMC Hatfield, viii. 16, 323; PCC 68 Woodhall; 64 Weldon; C142/366/170; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, ii. 74.