Berekeley Castle

The History of Berkeley Castle

LocationBerkeley, Gloucestershire, England (Google Map)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byPrivate Owners
Official WebsiteBerkeley Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Wedding, events, filming)

Berkeley Castle is a historic medieval fortress located in Berkeley, England. This beautiful Castle is designated to the English Heritage and is marked as a Grade I listed building. Since the 12th century, this Castle has remained with the Berkeley family. It is also known as the fairytale Castle with a unique pink stone exterior that glows in the sunlight. Since 1956, the Castle has been open for visitors, and you can explore its unique structure and exciting family history.

History

The first structure of Berkeley Castle was built in 1067 by William FitzOsbern. It had a motte and bailey model. It was held by three generations of the first Berkeley family till then. The last Roger De Berkeley was deposed for his allegiance to the House of Plantagenet. At that time, the feudal barony of Berkeley was granted to Robert Fitzharding, a wealthy burgess of Bristol. He was the founder of the Berkeley family.

Then later, in 1153, Berkeley Castle was rebuilt using stones by Fitzharding. He received a royal charter from King Henry II with permission to rebuild the Castle. He added the circular shell keep and curtain walls to the Castle’s structure. At the beginning of the 14th century, Thorpe’s tower, the inner gatehouse to the southwest, and other buildings of the inner bailey were added to the Castle by Thomas de Berkeley, 3rd Baron Berkeley.

In 1327, Edward II was deposed in the Castle by his French wife, Isabella. She was sent to the Castle for imprisonment. On 21st September, Edward was found dead in the Castle. His death till date remains to be a mystery. In 1384, Katherine, the lady Berkeley, founded a school in the Castle. This school can still be seen on the Castle’s land.

Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the Berkeley Castle fell into the ownership disputes between Tomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle, and William Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley. It led to the Battle of Nibley Green. However, William Berkeley won the battle, and the Castle remained with the family. During the English Civil War, the Castle was under siege by the parliamentarians and captured by the Royalist defenders. However, the Berkeley family retained the Castle’s ownership under some parliamentary conditions. After that, the family made a lot of modifications to the Castle.

Berkeley Castle is still owned by the Berkeleys and is known to be the third-oldest Castle in England, owned by the same family for 27 generations. The Castle now organises weddings and is open to the public. You can visit the official website to know the wedding prices.

Architecture

Berkeley Castle, by El Bingle, is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Berkeley Castle is a fairytale Castle built using warm pink stones. It glows softly under the sunlight. It has a Gothic design. You will notice the small towers, doors, windows and uneven battlements in the Castle’s exterior.

Inside the Castle, you will find the collected and treasured items of the Berkeley family. Even the Castle sculptures reflect the history of the place. Whenever you visit the Castle, don’t forget to check out Berkeley Treasures, including Francis Drake’s cabin chest, Queen Elizabeth I’s bedspread, and other items that have their own stories to tell. The Castle’s interior is original, and you will still notice the 14th-century great hall and 16th-century wooden screen graces in it. Even the Norman chapel’s medieval kitchens and morning rooms are open for visitors. Also, the circular shell keep, curtain walls, Inner bailey, Great Hall, and the great staircase of the Castle can be explored by the visitors.

Berkeley Castle includes terraced gardens filled with unusual and beautiful plants. Also, you will find a peaceful Lily pond and walled garden café on the Castle’s premises. You can also organise Berkeley Castle events, including Berkeley Castle wedding and Berkeley Castle classic car show.

Movie Features

  • Galavant (2015-2016): The Castle’s exteriors and grounds have been used for the external shots of Valencian Castle in Galavant.
  •  The Spanish Princess (2019-2020): Both the interior and exterior of the Berkeley Castle were featured in season 2 of the Spanish princess.
  • The Other Boleyn Girl (2008): The Berkeley Castle was used in many scenes of The Other Boleyn Girl, a historical drama.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Berkeley Castle?

Berkeley Castle is a historic fortress located in the town of Berkeley in Gloucestershire. The nearest railway station from the Castle is Cam and Dursley. The bus can drop you just outside the Castle’s entrance. You can even live in hotels near Berkeley Castle and visit the Castle while walking.  

Which King died at Berkeley Castle?

The English King who died in Berkeley Castle in 1327 was Edward II. He was murdered in the Castle; however, it’s still a mystery how he died and who killed him.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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