BERKELEY, Edward (c.1644-1707), of Pylle, nr. Wells, Som.
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Family and Education
b. c.1644, 1st s. of Edward Berkeley of Pylle by Phillippa, da. of George Speke of White Lackington, Som. educ. Wadham, Oxf. matric. 12 July 1661, aged 17; L. Inn 1665. m. c.1680, Elizabeth (d. 1724), da. and coh. of John Ryves of Ranston, Dorset, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1669.1
Usually known by his militia rank of colonel, Berkeley was second cousin to the Berkeleys of Bruton. His estate at Pylle was midway between Bruton and Wells where he had first been elected in 1679. He had been a Tory supporter of William of Orange in 1688, but during the Convention had opposed the notion that the throne was vacant. Re-elected for Wells in 1690, he was classed in one of Lord Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) lists as a Tory and in another as a probable Court supporter. That he fulfilled this expectation in the course of the first session is borne out in his being classed as pro-Court in Carmarthen’s lists of October and December. He was first-named on 30 Nov. 1693 on a committee to consider an application for a bill to erect a bridge at Brean over the River Axe, but the rest of his Journal record relates only to grants of leave accorded him, in February–March 1694, January 1695, and March 1697. His early support for the Court gave way to opposition by the mid-1690s. In January 1696, on the proposed council of trade, he was forecast as a probable opponent of the Court, and late the following month he refused to sign the Association. In March he voted against the Court’s preference for fixing the price of guineas at 22s., and in November voted against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. A list compiled shortly after the 1698 election identified him as one of the Country party, and he was forecast as likely to oppose the standing army during the 1698–9 session. He stood down at the January 1701 election, but made an unsuccessful bid for a county seat in 1702. He died in 1707 and was buried at Pylle. Besides his Somerset lands, his will mentions property in Gillingham, Dorset and in Gloucestershire but stated that it had taken ‘lawsuits of great fatigue and expense to gain an estate’ and he was particularly anxious that it be preserved intact by his elder son Maurice*. His younger son, William, was heir, and in 1728, eventual successor to the extensive west-country estates of Henry Seymour Portman*, Berkeley’s first cousin once removed, and was thereby the founder of the wealthy Berkeley Portman dynasty.2