Berkeley London and its origin


Berkeley is originally a surname and place in Gloucestershire, England. The Berkeley family of England goes back to the line of descent from a noble Saxon ancestor before the Norman conquest of England in 1077. The name originally comes from the Norman, Roger de Berkeley (1040-1093), feudal baron of Dursley. The Grade I listed Berkeley Castle was originally granted by William the Conqueror to Norman Roger who had taken his name from his tenure of the Castle. The original castle was built around 1067 by William FitzOsbern. It was subsequently held by three generations of the first Berkeley family all called “Roger de Berkeley”. The family rebuilt the castle in the first half of the 12th century. The last Roger de Berkeley (1103-1180) was dispossessed in 1152 during the conflict of the civil war in England and Normandy: The Anarchy between 1135 and 1154.

Berkeley Castle - Gloucestershire
Berkeley Castle – Berkeley – Gloucestershire

The feudal barony of Berkeley was granted to a wealthy burgess of Bristol, Robert Fitzharding (1096-1170). He is the founder of the Berkeley dynasty and not related to the ‘Roger de Berkeley’ family. Robert’s father was Harding of Bristol, the son of Eadnoth the Constable, a high official under King Edward the Confessor.

In 1153 to 1154 Robert Fitzharding received a Royal Charter from King Henry II to rebuild the Castle to defend Bristol and Gloucester Road.

The Castle still remains in the Berkeley family and possesses the majority of its land from the 11th and 12th centuries around the family estate in Gloucestershire, England. It is the oldest castle in England to be owned and occupied by the same family for over 900 years.

The castle is the caput baraniae of the adjoining town of Berkeley in the county of Gloucestershire. The nobility title Baron Berkeley was first awarded by writ to Thomas II de Berkeley, also called Thomas ‘The Wise”, 1st Baron Berkeley (1245-1321), 6th feudal Baron Berkeley, in the year of 1295. However, the baron’s title became extinct at the death of his great-great-grandson, Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley (1352-1417).

Baron Thomas Berkeley
Baron Thomas Berkeley

The second initiation of the title Baron Berkeley by writ was in 1421 for the last baron’s nephew and inheritor, James. James’s son and heir William was given the title Viscount Berkeley in the year of 1481, as well as Earl of Nottingham two years later, in addition, Marquees of Berkeley in the year of 1488. However, William had no remaining male kin. Therefore, the Marquisate and all his non-hereditary titles got extinct on his passing in the year 1491. The barony transferred de jure to his baby brother Maurice. His older brother William disinherited Maurice as he brought shame upon the noble House of Berkeley as he married below his status.

Berkeley Castle Estate
Berkeley Castle Estate

The castle, lands, and lordships including the Barony of Berkeley were bequeathed to King Henry VII and his male heirs. After the death of King Henry VII’s grandson, the unmarried King Edward VI in 1553, the Berkeley inheritance returned to the Berkeley family. Maurice and his descendants from 1492 to 1553 were de jure barons only until the title returned to the heir Henry in 1553 and became the 7th Baron Berkeley. His relative George Harding succeeded him. George Harding’s son, the 9th Baron, was granted Earl of Berkeley and Viscount Dursley, which stayed unified with the barony until the passing of the 6th Earl Hon Thomas Morton Fitzhardinge Berkeley in the year of 1882. The earldom passed to a male heir, George Lennox Fitzhardinge Berkeley, and the barony passed for the first time to a female, Louisa Milman. From there the barony passed to another female, Eva Mary Foley, upon whose demise the barony fell once more into abeyance. The intermission was ended some years later in favour of Mary Lalle Foley-Berkeley, 17th Baroness Berkeley. The baroness left the title to her nephew Anthony Gueterbock in 1992.

Anthony Gueterbock, known as Tony Berkeley, is the current 18th Baron Berkeley, born in 1939. Son of Brigadier Ernest Adolphus Leopold Gueterbock and Hon. Cynthia Ella Foley. Tony Berkeley was created Baron Gueterbock for life in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 2000. The Labour politician has three children with his first wife Diana Christine Townsend:

  1. Thomas FitzHardinge Gueterbock
  2. Robert William Gueterbock
  3. Philippa Louisa Gueterbock

The dynasty is saved for at least another generation with Thomas FitzHardinge Gueterbock as the next kin in line.


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Tudorplace
  3. The Peerage
  4. Cracrftspeerage


Berkeley House in London on Piccadilly was built from 1665 to 1673 by Admiral John, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton after his return from his tenure of the viceroyalty of Ireland. He had it constructed for GBP 30.000, at that time a fortune. The classical grand mansion was built by Hugh May. Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, and a mistress of Charles II later occupied the house.

Berkeley House Piccadilly London
Piccadilly with Horse Coaches from Hyde Park Corner

John, 3rd Baron Berkeley of Stratton, sold the mansion to William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Devonshire in 1696. The house was renamed to Devonshire House. The agreement between 1st Duke of Devonshire and the 3rd Baron Berkeley of Stratton was that John would not build on the land directly behind the Devonshire House, in order to keep the Duke’s view.

This agreement was honoured when the Berkeley land was further developed after 1730 and the Berkeley Square Garden is still part of this undeveloped land.

The Devonshire House during the refurbishment was completely destroyed by a fire on 16th October 1733 despite big efforts to fight the fire. The firefighter guards were led by Willem van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle and others led by Frederick, Prince of Wales. Many of Britain’s great peers built and owned large London mansions named after themselves. In Europe, they would have been called palaces. Devonshire House was one of the largest and grandest similar to Burlington House, Londonderry House, Northumberland House, Norfolk House, Montague House, and Lansdowne House.


Architect William Kent in the middle of the 18th century originally laid out Berkeley Square in Mayfair in London.

The garden is open to the public and its trees planted in 1789 are among the oldest in London. The garden square is surrounded by townhouses, each single of them with an impressive history of inhabitants on their own. The former residential area hosts nowadays mainly hedge funds, private equity and investment funds, private members clubs and offices.

The former residential square has now only one residential building: number 48. Notable famous residents have been:

  1. Vice-Admiral John Byng (1741), Royal Navy. He was failing to relieve the besieged British garrison during the Battle of Minorca with the French. He was court-martialled and sentenced to death and shot on 14th March 1757
  2. Horace Walpole, 4th Ear of Orford. He lived at no 11 from 1779 till 1797. He was a whig politician, English art historian, and literate thinker. He wrote Gothic Novel, The Castle of Otranto. His letters are socially as well as politically significant
  3. George Canning, served as a UK Tory Prime Minister for four months before he died on 8th August 1827. Lived at number 50. The son of an actress and failed businessman and lawyer, he was supported by his uncle Stratford, who financed him Eton College and Christ Church Oxford.
  4. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill lived at number 48 as a child. United Kingdom Prime Minister almost during the whole World War II from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill was an officer in the British Army, a writer, and an artist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature and was made the first honorary citizen of the United States of America. He was born into the family of the Dukes of Marlborough, part of the Spencer family.
  5. Major-General Robert Clive of India, 1st Baron Clive, was the Commander-in-Chief of British India. He established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company in Bengal. He is credited with securing India for the British crown and its wealth that followed with occupying this colony. He bought number 45 in 1761 and committed suicide there  in 1774
  6. Lady Jersey, Sarah Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey, heiress to the private bank Child & Co. lived at number 38 until her death. The countess was an English noblewoman, the eldest daughter of John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland and Sarah Ann Child. Her mother was the only child of Robert Child, the majority shareholder of private bank Child & Co. Lady Jersey married George Child-Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey in her house on the garden square. Her mother-in-law, Countess of Jersey, Frances Villiers, was known to be one of the most famous mistresses of Prince of Wales before he became King George IV. Lady Jersey was one of the patronesses of Almack’s, at that time the most exclusive social member’s club in London. She was also the leader of Ton from the French “le bon ton”, referred to the high-society including aristocracy, the peerage, and wealthy merchants and bankers. Lady Jersey had seven children. She outlived her husband and six of her children.
  7. Charles Stewart Rolls, the co-founder of Rolls-Royce, was born in the square in 1877 as the son of the 1st Baron Llangattock and Lady Llangattock. He attended Eton College and developed an interest in engines. His nickname was dirty Rolls. He entered Trinity College in Cambridge and studied mechanical and applied science. Rolls travelled at the age of 18 to Paris to buy his first car, a Peugeot Phaeton. It is believed that his car was the first one in Cambridge. He was an aviation and motoring pioneer. His father gave him £6.600 that he could open one of Britain’s first car dealerships, C.S. Rolls & Co., in 1903. Charles was introduced to Henry Royce at the Royal Automobile Club by a friend, Henry Edmunds. Henry showed him Royce’s car. They agreed on 23rd December 1904 that Rolls would take all the cars the Royce could produce. They were branded as Rolls-Royce. The first Rolls-Royce was revealed at the Paris Salon shortly after that. In 1906 Rolls and Royce formed their official company Rolls-Royce Limited. He was the first Briton killed in an aeronautical accident with a powered airplane. He died at the age of 32.

Famous residents of Lansdown House:

  1. Juan Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, a Scottish nobleman and British Prime Minister (1762-1763) under King George III. He was the first Prime Minister of Scotland
  2. William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, later 1st Marquess of Lansdown, British Prime Minister (1782-1783). He was an Irish-born British Whig statesman and the first Home secretary in 1782 before becoming Prime Minister. He secured peace with America and it remains his legacy. Attended Oxford University and served afterwards in the British army during the Seven Years’ War. He was appointed an aide-de-camp to George III. He became involved in politics and a member of parliament in 1970.
  3. William Pitt, called the Younger, to distinguish him from his father, was twice the British Prime Minister from 1783 to 1801 and again from 1804 to 1806. He became the youngest Prime Minister at the age of 24. He left office in 1801 and served as a Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806. He was challenged by major events in Europe including the French revolution and Napoleon’s wars. His father, William Pit the Elder served as Prime Minister, too.
  4. William Waldorf Astor, the 1st Viscount Astor and wealthiest man in the States at that time (1891-1893). He studied at Columbia Law School and called to the US bar in 1875. He was a wealthy attorney, businessman, newspaper publisher and politician. with the death of his father, William became the richest person in the States. That year he initiated to build the Waldorf Hotel in New York on the site of his former residence. His cousin Colonel John Jacob Astor IV built the adjoining Astoria Hotel in 1897 and the two hotels complex became the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It was sold in 2014 to a Chinese insurance company for USD 1.95 billion. Born in New York City, he moved with his family to England in 1891 and became a British citizen eight years later and was made a peer as Baron Astor in 1916 and Viscount Astor in 1917.
  5. Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, 1st Earl of Midlothian, United Kingdom Prime Minister from 1894 to 1895. He was born on 7th May 1847 in his parent’s house on Charles Street in Mayfair. His interest was mainly in sports, collector, and writer as well as a historian.
  6. Harry Gordon Selfridge, was an American retail magnate and the founder of the Selfridges Department Stores in London. Selfridge left school at the age of 14, delivered newspapers since the age of 10 and found after leaving school work at a bank. He held a series of various jobs until he got a position at Marshall Field’s in Chicago. He stayed with the company for 25 years. Harry married Rose Buckingham from the Chicago Buckingham family in 1890. Selfridge went on a trip to London in 1906 and invested £400.000 and founded his own department store Selfridges on Oxford Street. The store opened in 1909 and became one of Europe’s largest department stores. He was a well-respected retailer in England and remained chairman until he retired in 1941. In 1940 Selfridge stores were sold to the John Lewis Partnership. After several changes of ownership, Lewis and Selfridges are owned by Canadian billionaire Galen Weston who bought the chain for £598 million. Harry Selfridge lost most of his fortune in later life. He died on the 8th of May 1947 in Putney in London at the age of 89.

The name of the Square, as well as Berkeley Street, comes from the former Berkeley House, named after the Gloucestershire based dynasty.

House number 50 on the square has a reputation being the “Most Haunted House in London”.

One of the largest buildings houses Regus, an international serviced office company. They rent out offices on a short-let or temporary basis as well as shared offices, hot desks, meeting rooms, and business addresses. On this address alone there are 869 companies listed. However, some of them are renting their own office spaces directly from the landlord.

In the same building Richard Caring launched his latest restaurant venture called “Sexy Fish”. A modern Asian fusion restaurant. Nothing sexy about the name but it is one of the places to be seen with a long waiting list. Forget to get a table without reservation unless you are an A-lister!

Across the Square is our beloved Annabel’s with the same ownership as Sexy Fish, George’s, Harris Bar, Mark’s Club, 34, Ivy Club, Ivy Restaurants, J Sheekey, Le Caprice, Scott’s and much more. The nightclub is moving to a townhouse on the same square and transforming it into a modern club similar to 5 Hertford Street, opened by the son of the late owner of Annabel’s, and Arts Club on Dover Street. It is said to be open from breakfast till late night with gym facilities, restaurant(s), bars and outdoor space. We are looking forward to the new club.

Upon the Northside of the square, there is another private member club Morton’s. The former General Manager Jorge of Annabel’s is the manager of the nightclub. London’s Social Elite such as Pippa Middleton, Ben Goldsmith, Cressida Bonas and model Jodie Kidd are partying at the member’s club.

Sources: british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol4/pp273-290


The name originated from the town of Gloucester with its Castle and the Berkeley dynasty spread worldwide and there are places, companies, and institutions in all corners of the world with its name:

  • Berkeley, New South Wales, Australia – a suburb of Wollongong, New South Wales. The population of 7.427 in 2011. Robert Jenkins originally from Gloucestershire received a grant for 1.000 acres from Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1813. Jenkins received the grants in December 1816. He named the estate after his hometown back in England
  • Berkeley, Ontario, Canada – a community in Chatsworth, Grey County, Ontario, Canada – the post office opened in 1853 in the compact rural community and there were three churches. However, only one of them is still standing. The other closed due to high maintenance expenses
  • Berkeley Islands, Nunavut, Canada – an uninhabited island group in northern Canada in the Qikiqtaaluk area. Island group belongs to the Parry Islands subgroup and is member of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
  • Berkeley Square, London, United Kingdom – a Garden Square in Mayfair, West End in London with trees among the oldest in London. Architect William Kent originally designed the layout of the town square
  • Berkeley Street, London United Kingdom – a street connecting Piccadilly and Berkeley Square in London’s West End
  • The Berkeley Hotel, London, United Kingdom – a luxury five-star hotel in Knightsbridge, London. Sister hotels are The Connaught and The Claridge’s, owned by the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund after the British billionaires, the Barclay brothers, tried without success to gain control over the Mayborne Group, owning the three iconic London hotels
  • The Berkeley Clinic, London, United Kingdom – a natural health clinic with new and traditional complementary therapies
  • Berkeley, California, United States – a city on the shore of San Francisco Bay in California
  • Berkeley University of California, Berkeley, United States – one of the world’s top universities founded in 1868 in Berkeley, California
  • Berkeley, Denver, Colorado, United States – a neighbourhood in the city center of Denver in Colorado
  • Berkeley, Illinois, Chicago, United States – a village with a population of 5.209 in 2010 in Cook County in Illinois
  • Berkeley, Missouri, St. Louis, United States – a suburb of St. Louis with 8.978 inhabitants in 2010
  • Berkeley Township, New Jersey, United States – a town in Ocean County in New Jersey with a population of 41.255 in the year of 2000
  • Berkeley, Albemarle County, Virginia, United States – an unincorporated community in Albemarle County in Virginia
  • Berkeley College, New York, and New Jersey, United States – the college has campuses with more than 8.300 students in New York and New Jersey plus an Online College with further 700 international students
  • Berkeley College, Yale University, United States – the college uses the family crest and is named in honor of George of the same family (1685-1753), Dean of Derry and later Bishop of Cloyne. It is part of Yale University
  • Berkeley City College, Community College, California, United States – a Community College in California and formerly Vista Community College. It is part of the Peralta Community College District.
  • Berkeley Hundred, later known as Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, United States – a plantation dating back to the year 1619. Home to two Presidents of the United States: William Henry Harrison and his grandson Benjamin Harrison. It is now a museum open to the public.
  • Berkeley Cars, British car manufacturer, United Kingdom – a producer of English sporting microcars from 1956 to 1960
  • Berkeley Group Holdings, British property development company, United Kingdom – a British property developer across London and South of England
  • Berkeley DeVeer, Property Developer, Wetherby, United Kingdom – a British property developer for residential homes in the UK
  • Berkeley Cinemas, a cinema chain in Auckland, New Zealand – a cinema premium chain brand and was one of the largest cinema chains in Auckland in New Zealand. The company was bought by Hoyts Pty Australia in 2010
  • Berkeley Systems, San Francisco Bay Area software company, United States – a was a software company founded in 1987 by Wes Boyd and Joan Blades. It was specialised in modifying Macintosh computers for blind or partially sighted people.
  • Berkeley Girls in Engineering, Engineering Program, UC Berkeley, California, United States – a sponsored university program and the task force with the goal to close the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields. In the college of Engineering, the female percentage of the undergraduates is 24%, higher than the national average
  • Berkeley Girls, London, United Kingdom – an Elite London companion service
  • Berkeley Girls Softball, Softball Recreational League BGSL, Bayville NJ, United States – an all-female softball league
  • Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League, Albany & Berkeley, California, United States – female softball league for girls from grades K through 9
  • Berkeley Girl Harper Simon, Music Video featuring Jena Malone – Harper James Simon is born in 1972 and an American singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. He released the video for his song “Berkeley Girl” featuring actress Jena Malone in 2012. Jena Malone born in 1984 is an American actress and musician. One of her more recent hits was Sucker Punch in 2011, The Hunger Games film series in 2013-2015. She was nominated for a Golden Globe award in 1998.
  • Berkeley Foundation, United Kingdom – the foundation was set up by the Berkeley Group in 2011. It is a registered charity that supports young people and their families in the communities in which the company works.
  • Berkeley Energy, Renewable Energy Fund manager by Berkeley Partners LLP, London, United Kingdom – a fund specialised in renewable energy investments in emerging markets in Asia and Africa. They have currently three funds under management with assets of above USD 400m
  • Berkeley Futures, Futures, CFD & Options Brokers, London, United Kingdom – a full-service brokerage firm located in London’s West End. Authorised and regulated by the FCA. A member of the Dubai Gold & Commodity Exchange (DGCX), London Metal Exchange (LME), London Stock Exchange and FIA Europe
  • Berkeley Energia, London, United Kingdom, and Salamanca, Spain – a clean energy company developing the Salamanca project in Spain. The company has received all the European Union, National and Provincial level approvals for the initial infrastructure development
  • Berkeley Fast File System, – a Unix file system. The BSD Fast Filesystem or FFS is a file system used by many Unix operating systems. Unix is a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems with its origin of AT&T Unix, developed in the 1970s by Bell Labs.
  • Berkeley Software Distribution, Unix OS – BSD is a Unix operating system derivative developed and distributed by the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) at the University of California

HMS Berkeley Castle, two British naval ships, United Kingdom – the K387 battleship of United Kingdom’s Royal Navy named after the castle in Gloucestershire was a Castle-class corvette launched on 19th November 1943. She served as a convoy escort until the end of the Second World War. She was in reserve until 1956. The first warship named after the castle was a 48-gun wooden warship. It was captured by the French Navy on 25th October 1695.

HMS Berkeley Castle
HMS Berkeley Castle