BERKELEY, Sir Rowland (c.1613-96), of Cotheridge, Worcs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1613, o.s. of William Berkeley of Acton Beauchamp, by Margaret, da. of Thomas Chettle of Worcester. educ. M. Temple, entered 1627; Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 24 Feb. 1632, aged 18. m. 26 Nov. 1635, Dorothy, da. of Sir Thomas Cave of Stanford, Northants., 1s. d.v.p. 5da. Kntd. 30 June 1641; suc. fa. 1658.1

Offices Held

Commr. for array, Worcs. 1642, j.p. 1643-6, July 1660-87, sheriff 1644-5, commr. for excise 1645, assessment, Worcs. 1646, Aug. 1660-80, Worcester Sept. 1660-80, Worcs. and Worcester 1689-d.; dep. lt. Worcs. c. Aug. 1660-Feb. 1688, capt. vol. horse 1661, commr. for loyal and indigent officers 1662; freeman, Bewdley by 1673; commr. for recusants, Worcs. 1675.2


Berkeley claimed descent from a younger son of the family of Berkeley Castle. His great-grandfather sat for Hereford in 1547, but his grandfather migrated to Worcester, where he became a prosperous clothier, representing the city in four Parliaments. The most notable of the family was his uncle, MP for the city in 1621 and 1624, and subsequently impeached by the Long Parliament as one of the judges who had given their opinion in favour of ship-money. Cotheridge, four miles west of Worcester, was acquired in 1615 and settled on Berkeley on his marriage. He was an active royalist commissioner during the first Civil War and was fined £2,030 on an estate of £450 p.a. In the second Civil War, he ‘meddled not on either side’, though he had some alarming experiences during the battle of Worcester. He was denounced as a Cavalier conspirator in 1655, but apparently without much cause. On the eve of the Restoration he signed the declaration of the Worcestershire Royalists disclaiming animosity towards their opponents.3

At the Restoration Berkeley was included among the proposed knights of the Royal Oak, with an estate valued at £1,000 p.a. He was returned for Worcester in 1661, and became a moderately