Archives and Library


Archives dating from 1154

Though modest in size compared with those of other great houses, the Berkeley archives are rich both in age and quality. The earliest documents date from 1154 and are older than the castle itself.

All those dating from before 1492 (the date at which the castle passed into royal hands for over 60 years) have been catalogued in A Catalogue of the Medieval Muniments…ed Bridget Wells-Furby, published by the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society (BGAS) in 2004. This is available on Discovery, the catalogue of The National Archives. All these documents and most of those for the Tudor period have been filmed and can be consulted at Gloucestershire Archives.




Enquiries about former estate properties and tenants should be directed in the first instance to Mr Peter Yardley, an expert on the modern history of the estate. He will make a small charge for the benefit of Berkeley Castle Charitable Trust. All other enquiries should be sent to Mr David Smith, the archivist at the Castle. This service may attract a search fee.

Those wishing to see the archives and who cannot find out what they need to know from the microfilms at Gloucestershire Archives may visit the Muniment Room by appointment with Mr Smith.


Published editions

Editions of some of the more important documents have been published:

RW Hoyle (ed) The Military Survey of Gloucestershire, 1522 BGAS 1993

David Walker (ed) The Cartulary of St Augustine’s Abbey, Bristol BGAS 1998

B. Wells-Furby (ed) The Great Cartulary of Berkeley Castle c1425 BGAS 2014

A detailed economic and social study of the medieval estate has also been published:

B. Wells-Furby The Berkeley Estate 1281-1417: its economy and development BGAS 2012

The more recent of these volumes can be purchased from the BGAS or at the Castle shop.

The old library is also housed in the Muniment Room. It is a small collection but contains some volumes of which few copies are recorded elsewhere in the UK. There is an author index which is at present only available at the Castle. Enquiries should be directed to Mr Smith.



A grant by Henry II

To St Peter’s Abbey, Gloucester, of his manor of Maisemore. It is part of the archives of the Berkeleys of Spetchley.  The deed was taken back into Crown hands at the dissolution of the monasteries and then went to the Compton family when they acquired Hartpury later in the 16th century because included in the grant (though not stated) is 200 a. of woodland in Hartpury.


An illuminated book

From the family collection. The illumination comes from the Neville Hours, c1410, purchased by the Eighth Earl because he thought it had a family connection.


A medical treatise

Describing characteristics of the four humours (sanguine, choleric, etc.)


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