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Berkeley

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Cotswolds  /  Berkeley
(1,100+ reviews from 7 attractions)
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Berkeley is a small town and parish in Gloucestershire, England. It lies in the Vale of Berkeley between the east bank of the River Severn and the M5 motorway, within the Stroud administrative district. The town is noted for Berkeley Castle, where the imprisoned Edward II was murdered.GeographyBerkeley lies mid-way between Bristol and Gloucester, on a small hill in the Vale of Berkeley. The town is on the Little Avon River, which flows into the Severn at Berkeley Pill. The Little Avon was tidal, and so navigable, for some distance inland (as far as Berkeley itself and the Sea Mills at Ham) until a 'tidal reservoir' was implemented at Berkeley Pill in the late 1960s.GovernanceAn electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward stretches from Berkeley in the south to Hinton in the north. The total ward population taken at the 2011 census was 4,181.HistoryBerkeley was first recorded in 824 as Berclea, from the Old English for "birch lee".Berkeley was a significant place in medieval times. It was a port and market-town, and the meeting place of the hundred of Berkeley. After the Norman Conquest, a Flemish noble named Roger de Tosny was appointed Provost of the manor of Berkeley by his brother-in-law (or perhaps uncle) Earl William FitzOsbern. His family took the name "de Berkeley", and it was he who began the construction of Berkeley Castle, which was completed by his son, also Roger. A younger son of the elder Roger, John de Berkeley, went north to Scotland with Queen Maud, becoming the progenitor of the Scottish Barclay family.
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