Berkeley, Sir Robert

, one of the justices of the king’s bench in the time of Charles I. was born in 1584, the second son of Rowland Berkeley, esq. of Spetchly in Worcestershire, where his descendants yet live and was by the female line, descended from Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, who flourished in the reigns of Henry IV. and V. In the 12 James I. he served the office of high sheriff for the county of Worcester in the 3d Charles I. was made king’s serjeant, and in the 8th of the same reign, was made a justice of the court of king’s bench. While in this office, he, with eleven of his brethren, gave his opinion in favour of ship-money; and if we may judge from the tenor of his conduct in private life, as well as upbn the bench, from honest motives but as he had been active on other occasions in what he seems to have thought his duty, and was a man of fortune, he was singled out by parliament as a proper object of their vengeance. He was accordingly impeached of high treason, and adjudged to pay a fine of 20,000l. to be deprived of his office of judge, and rendered incapable of holding any place, or receiving any honour in the state or commonwealth: he was also to be imprisoned in the Tower during the pleasure of the house of lords. Having made some “satisfaction” for his fine to the parliament, he was by their authority, discharged from the whole, and set at liberty, after he had been upwards of seven months in the Tower. But he af terwards suffered greatly by the plunderings and exactions | of the rebels, and a little before the battle of Worcester, the Presbyterians, though engaged in the king’s service, retained their ancient animosity against him, and burnt his house at Spetchly to the ground. He afterwards converted the stables into a dwelling-house, and lived with content, and even dignity, upon the wreck of his fortune. He was a true son of the church of England, and suffered more from the seduction of his only son Thomas to the church of Home, at Brussels, than from all the calamities of the civil war. He died Aug. 5, 1656. 1

1 Granger’s Biog. and letters by Malcolm, p. 217, 253 261. Peck’s Desiderata, vol. II. Lloyd’s Memoirs, fol. p. 94, 95.