Walter de Berkeley, Great Chamberlain of Scotland

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Walter de Berkeley, Sir Walter de Berkeley, Gartley III, Lord Redcastle and Inverkei

Also Known As: "3rd Lord of Gartley", "Walter de Barclay"
Birthdate: (84)
Birthplace: Cullen Castle, Auldhaven, Banffshire, Scotland
Death: 1190 (54-84)
Gartley, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Roger de Berkeley, Jr., Second Laird of Gartley and Rissa de Berkeley
Husband of Eva de Leuchars, of Galloway, Heiress Of Gartley
Father of Ricardus de Berkeley; John de Berkeley; Jean "Margaret" de Seton; Agnes de Berkeley, of Cullen; Roger de Berkeley, 5th Laird of Towie and 1 other
Brother of Roger de Berkeley Iii; William de Berkeley, I, Great Chamberlain; Theobald de Berkeley, Laird of Gartley and Robert de Berkeley, Laird of Gartley

Occupation: Great Chamberlain, He lived at Nympesfield and was a merchant.
Managed by: James Fred Patin, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Walter de Berkeley, Great Chamberlain of Scotland

Sir Walter de Berkeley, 3rd Lord of Gartley, Lord of Redcastle and Inverkeillor, Great Chamberlain of Scotland 1165-1189

His parentage is unknown. The origin of the Berkeley/Barclay family in Scotland is disputed. Some believe they are a branch of the Anglo-Norman Berkeley family, while others have various theories as to their origins. See below for various excerpts and quotes about this family, which contribute to the confusion about Walter's parentage.

"The Baliols in Picardy, England and Scotland" by G. Andrews Moriarty, in NEHGR, Oct. 1952, pages 273-290.

"Such was the Scotland where, at the close of the 12th century, a cadet of the Baliols established himself. Among the Normans who went into Scotland in the middle of that century was Walter de Berkeley, apparently a cadet of the first or Norman house of Berkeley in Gloucestershire on the Welsh Marches. This Walter was lord of Redcastle in the parish of Inverkeillor in Agnus or Forfarshire. He held the office of Chamberlain of Scotland and occurs between 1165 and 1189; but he may possibly have lived until 1199, (Exch. R. Scot., vol. II, Pref. p. cxix). He was benefactor of Arbroath Abbey to which he gave the church of Inverkeillor; this gift was confirmed and added to by Ingram de Baliol, who had married his daughter and succeeded him in Redcastle."

Barclay-Berkeley Notes


Source: English Genealogy by Anthony Richard Wagner 2nd ed Oxford, 1972

Page 51 So far as I know, the ancestry of two extant English families only, Arden and Berkeley, can be carried back to pre-Conquest Englishmen.

Page 52-53 ii - Berkeley One other English family can show a probable descent from a pre-Conquest Englishman, though one link in the chain is open to doubt and the suggested identification of the first ancestor is no more than a conjecture. Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, the scene of the murder of King Edward II, both for historical and architectural interest stands in the first rank of English houses, but its unique distinction is that the Berkeley family has held it for eight centuries, since Henry of Anjou (afterwards King Henry II) gave it to their ancestor Robert FitzHarding in 1153 or 1154.

This Robert was a rich merchant of Bristol and the identity of Harding and his father has long been a subject of conjecture and dispute. He is now, however, generally held to have been the same Harding, son of Eadnoth, who held Merriott in Somerset in 1086 and was ancestor through his eldest son Nicholas FitzHarding of the family of Meriet, which held and took its name from that place.

Eadnoth, the father of this Harding, was certainly a pre-Conquest Englishman, but a further theory has been put forward identifying him with a well known Eadnoth, a "staller" or household officer of Edward the Confessor, who was given a command by William the Conqueror and was killed in 1068 leading the men of Somerset against a raid by the sons of King Harold. The name Eadnoth is too common to let us regard this identification as more than an interesting possibility, but on any showing Mr. Robert Berkeley, now of Berkeley, is twenty-fourth in descent from Harding, whose father was probably a thane Eadnoth living before the Conquest. (1)

(1) Complete Peerage, ii. 124-5; Ancestor, viii. 73; Greenfield, Pedigree of Meriet; Freeman, Norman Conquest, vi. 760.

The later history of the Berkeleys cannot even be summarized here, but their long continued eminence in the mediaeval baronage and the modern peerage coupled with their romantic vicissitudes give it unique interest. (2)

(2) See H.P.R Finberg, Glocestershire Studies, 1957, pp 145-59.


Source: Barrow, G. W. S., The Kingdom of the Scots: Government, Church and Society from the Eleventh to the Fourteenth Century. New York : St. Martin's Press, 1973.

Page 332-334

There are surely more published histories of the Barclays than of any other Scottish family. The Barclays histories published in this century are worse than those published in the eighteenth, and those in turn are distinguished for the low level of their medieval scholarship. It has been assumed, on no concrete evidence, that the Scottish family of Barclay (de Berchelai, etc.), which first appears at the end of Malcolm IV’s reign in the persons of Robert and Walter de Berkeley* must be a branch of one or other of the two Anglo-Norman families of de Berkeley of Berkeley in Gloucestershire. Despite this assumption, it has never been possible to point to a single piece of evidence which would link the Scottish and English families. Is it extravagant to look for an alternative explanation? As with Lindsay and Ramsay, we have a Scottish family with an English place-name for surname and a strongly Norman flavour about the Christian names. Near Frome in Somerset there is a small village called Berkley (in 1086, Bercherei). In 1086 its overlordship belonged to a Norman named Roger Arundel, whose tenant in Berkley – that is, the actual lord of the manor – was a certain Robert. (Victoria History of the Counties of England, Somerset, i, 496; Sanders, English Baronies, 72). Roger Arundel’s manors in Somerset – part of a barony whose caput was Poorstock in Dorset – were interspersed among those held by the Fleming, Walter of Douai, father of the gluttonous Robert of Bampton, and they included Cary Fitzpaine (in Charlton Mackerell), not far from Castle Cary. (Victoria History of the Counties of England, Somerset, i, 495; and for the disposition of the Arundel and Douai estates, see the Domesday Map of Somerset contained in the Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological Society, vol. xxxv). Cary Fitzpaine seems to have been held by the same tenant as Berkley. At the same time when Henry Lovel of Castle Cary first appears in Scotland, we have the equally unheralded appearance as witness to Scottish royal charters of Godfrey of Arundel (Regesta Regum Scottorum by GWS Barrow, Edinburgh vii, 1971, i, nos. 256, 292, and n) and Robert and Walter de Berkeley. There is surely a case for testing the possibility that the Scottish Barclays took their name from Berkeley in Somerset because their ancestors were tenants there of the Arundels.

This, however, is not the whole story. The Barclay historians not only ignore a possible connection with the Somerset Berkley, they ignore a fact of more fundamental importance. What has always been regarded as the main line of the Scottish Barclays is represented by the family of Barclay of Mathers and their descendants, a family renowned in more modern times for producing field-marshals, Quakers, and bankers. (Michael, Prince Barclay de Tolly (1761-1818), Minister of War under Tsar Alexander I, 1810-13, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian army of the west, and in France; Robert Barclay of Urie (1648-90), author of the famous Apology for Quaker Christianity; and James, David and John Barclay, eighteenth-century founders of Barclay’s Bank; all belonged to this line of the family). This line has not in fact been ‘Barclay’ by male descent since before the end of the twelfth century. Some charters of William the Lion prove that the Barclay estates in Laurencekirk and Fordoun were granted by the king to a certain Humphrey, son of Theobald in right of his wide Agatha. (Regesta Regum Scottorum by GWS Barrow, Edinburgh vii, 1971, ii, nos. 344, 345). It was evidently Agatha who was a “de Berkeley’, and her husband and children adopted her surname. One of the charters luckily preserves the original surname of Humphrey, or at least that of his father Theobald, as a ‘de Adevil(l)e’ (Regesta Regum Scottorum by GWS Barrow, Edinburgh vii, 1971, ii, no. 423). I have searched thoroughly, but not exhaustively, for a place of this name in likely regions, and it seems that there is only one such place in the whole of Normandy. This is the hamlet and chapelry of Addeville in the commune of St. Côme-du-Mont, canton Carenton, arr. St Lô, d’ep Manche. Its chapel was in the patronage of the dukes of Normandy, and it had a minor proprietorial family, one of whom, Humphrey de Adeville, made grants to the abbeys of Montebourg and the Holy Trinity Caen (both of ducal foundations) in the early twelfth century. (Delisle-Berger, Recueil des actes de Henri II, ii, 203; RRAN, ii, no. 1684). It is a conjecture, but perhaps not a very wild one that Humphrey, son of Theobald de Adeville, given a rich heiress in marriage by William the Lion and enabled to found the ancient family of Barclay, was a grandson of Humphrey de Adeville who flourished in the time of Henry I.

  • [Regesta Regum Scottorum by GWS Barrow, Edinburgh vii, 1971, i, 283 No. 1). According to G. Crawfurd, History of the Shire of Renfew, 88 one Richard de Barclay was a witness to the foundation charter of the Abbey of Kilwinnig, Ayrshire. The charters are now lost…Richard may be an error for Robert; alternatively, he was another unrecorded member of the family of de Berleley]


Source: Davidson, John, Rev., Inverurie and The Earldom of the Garioch: A Topographical and Historical Account of the Garioch from Earliest times to the Revolution Settlement; A. Brown & Co., Aberdeen 1878. Page 64.

The Barclays date in Scotland from about 1110 and four families were prominent in the time of William the Lion - two of the surnames having held the office of Great Chamberlain. The ancient race came to Aberdeenshire in the same Saxon emigration which brought the Leslies, Gordons, and others, in the time of Princess Margaret. The first was John de Berkely, a younger son of Roger de Berkely, Lord of Berkley Castle, in the time of the Conqueror. From John, the barons of Gartley or Gartentully in the parish so named in Strathbogy (acquired by marriage) and the Barclays de Tolly both descended. The first Castle of Tolly had, it is said, the inscription "Sir Alexander Barclay of Tolly, fundator, decessit, AD 1136.


Source: Chalmers, George. Caledonia: or, a historical and topographical account of North Britain from the most ancient to the present times, with a dictionary of places, chorographical and philological. New Edition Vol. II. Paisley : Alexander Gardner, 1887.

Pg. 528

The Berkeleys settled in Scotland during the twelfth century; and they were a branch of the great family of Berkeley in Glocestershire (a). Robert de Berkeley obtained the manor Mackinston about the middle of the twelfth century, by marrying Cecilia, who enjoyed it as the heiress (b). They appear to have been succeeded in the manor of Mackinston, before the year 1200, by Hugh de Normanville, and Alicia his wife, who was doubtless the heiress

(a) Dug. Baron., v. i., p. 349.

(b) Robert and Cecilia, his spouse, granted to the monks of Melrose a carucate of land in the territory of Mackinston, with common of pasturage and other easements : they speak of David I., and Malcolm, as their late lords, and of their Lord William and David, his brother. Chart. Melrose, No. 27.

Pg. 529

of Robert and Cecilia (c). Walter de Berkeley, who was doubtless the brother of Robert, was appointed chamberlain of Scotland in 1165, when Nicholas, his predecessor, was made chancellor (d). Walter obtained from king William a grant of the extensive manor of Inverkeilor in Forfarshire, whereon he built Red-Castle, on an eminence near the mouth of Lunan-water ; and he was from it sometimes called the lord of Red-Castle. He granted the church of Inverkeilor, with other privledges, to the monks of Arbroath (e). He had the honour to be one of the hostages for enforcing the treaty which restored his master William to his people (f). Walter held some lands in Galloway under Roland, the son of Uchtred. He granted those lands to the monks of Holm-Cultrum, which grant was confirmed by Roland, the Lord of Galloway (g). When Walter died is uncertain ; he was alive at the end of the twelfth, and died at the beginning of the thirteenth centurym as we may learn from the chartularies. He left an heiress, who married Ingelram de Baliol, who was the first of this family that settled in Scotland (h). Another branch of the Berkeleys took root in the mearns during the twelfth century, and became the progenitors of Barclay of Mathers, of Barclay of Urie, and of other families in the northern districts. Humphry de Berkeley, who obtained estates in the Mearns from William the Lion, was probably a brother of Walter the chamberlain (i). He married Agatha, who witnessed one of his charters. Humphrey granted Balfech to the monks of Arbroath (k). He probably

(c) Ib., 29, 30. Robert de Berkeley was a witness to many grants of William the Lion, as we may see in the chartularies.

(d) Craw. Off. Of State, p. 253. Robert and Walter de Berkeley, appear as witnesses together in many charters. Chart. Arbroath, No. 84-86; Chart. Glasgow, 25-218; Chart. Cupar, No. 35-39; MS. Monast. Scotiae, 108. Robert witnessed the charters of Walter de Berkeley. Chaer. Arbroath, No. 83-85. There is a charter of Walter de Berkeley, the chamberlain, with his very curious seal appendant in the Diplom. Scotiae, pl. 77. It was witnessed by William de Moreville, the constable, who died in 1196.

(e) Chart. Arbroath, No. 83-4,85-8.

(f) Rymer’s Raed., v. i., p. 40.

(g) Dug. Monsat., vol. v., p. 286.

(h) Off. of State, 253; Ruddiman’s Index to the Diplom. Scotiae. Nisbet pretends that he left two daughters, but this loose intimation is contradicted by charters, which evinces that Ingelram de Baliol was the only person who was called upon to confirm the grants of Walter de Berkeley. Chart. Arbroath, No. 87. Monast. Angl., v., p. 286.

(i) Chart. Arbroath, No. 27. Humphrey de Berkeley withessed two charters of Gilchrist, Earl of Angus. Ib. No. 68-74. App. To Nisbet’s Heraldry, 246. From William, Humphrey obtained the manor of Conveth, which is now called Larencekirk, Monbodach, Balfech, Culbach, Kinkell, Glenferehar, and other lands in Fordun parish.

(k) Chart. Arbroath, No. 124 : as the same had been perambulated by Matthew the bishop of …. (see notes next page of book)

Pg. 530

did not survive his master William, who demised in 1214; and he left the greatest part of his lands to his heiress, Richenda, who married Warnebald, the ancestor of the Earls of Glencairns. As they had no issue they granted their estates in the Mearns to the monks of Arbroath, which were confirmed by Alexander II. (l). She outlived her husband, and during her widowhood confirmed her grant to the monks of Arbroath (c). There was one John Berkeley, whether a nephew or a bastard son of Humphry, who enjoyed a part of his estate, though Richenda was his heiress, and seems thus to have been looked as with envious eyes by Richenda and Warnebald, when they gave such estates to the monks. John de Berkeley disputed with those favoruite monks about some of those lands soon after the death of his father. This controversy was ended by an agreement, which was assented to by his son Robert de Berkeley, and was confirmed by Alexander II. about the year 1225 (m). John de Berkeley had some connection with Roger, the bishop of St. Andrews, who died in 1202, and whose charters he often witnessed (n). The Berkeleys enjoyed other high offices besides that of chamberlain. Walter de Berkeley acted as justiciary under William the Lion. Hugh de Berkeley was justiciary of Lothain between 1202 and 1214, the last twelve years of William (o). Another Hugh de Berkeley was justiciary of Lothain under Alexander III. (p). The brothers Hugh de Berkeley and Walter de Berkeley were among the Magnates Scotiae who entered into a treaty with the Welsh in 1258 (q). Sir David Berkeley obtained the lordship of Brechin by marrying Margaret, the heiress, at the beginning of the fourteenth century. This estate went afterwards to the Maules by another female heir of the Berkeleys (r).

(begin notes from last page) ….Aberdeen, and Gilbert the Earl of Strathearn, “Secundum assisam regni.” This grant was confirmed by K. William. Ib. No. 125. Humphrey was himself a perambulator of lands under the assize of the kingdom. Ib., p. 4.

(l) Chart. Arbroath, No. 20 and No. 21; this confirmation of Alexander was dated the 20th of March, 1243.

(c) Ib. No. 22. Her grant was confirmed by Alexander, 7th March, 1246.

(m) Chart. of Arbroath.

(n) Id.

(o) Chart. Newbotle : Fragments of Scottish History, 45.

(p) Diplom. Scotiae, 36 ; Chart. Soltre, No. 9 ; Chart. Kelso, No. 395. These charters show that Hugh was justiciary of Lothain on 1265, 1266, ad 1267.

(q) Rymer’s Faed., v. i., p. 653

(r) Dougl. Peerage, 87.


Clan Barclay History

  • Arms – Azure, a chevron Or between three crosses pattee Argent
  • Badge - Within a strap, a chapeau Azure doubled Ermine, a hand holding a dagger Proper.
  • Motto – Aut agere aut mori – “Either action or death.”
  • Dress Tartan- Yellow and black with white overcheck.
  • Hunting Tartan – Blue and green with red overcheck.
  • Standard – Measuring 12 feet long, this standard was approved by the Lord Lyon’s Office and is for the Chief’s personal use. Azure, a St. Andrew’s Cross Argent in the hoist and of two tracts Azure and or, upon which is depicted the Crest three times along with the Motto ‘Aut agere aut mori’ in letters Gules upon two transverse bands Argent.
  • Pinsel - Authorized by our Chief to be flown by his Commissioner for North America at activities in the United States and Canada when the Chief is unable to be in attendance. Or, displaying the Crest within a strap Azure, inscribed in letters Or with the Motto ‘Aut agere aut mori’ all within a circlet Or, fimbriated Azure, ensigned of a chapeau Azure furred Ermine, inscribed with the title ‘Barclay of that Ilk’ in letters Azure, and in the fly an Escrol Azure bearing in the letters Or this slogan ‘Towie Barclay’ surmounting a stem of mayflower Proper.
  • Plant Badge – a stem of mayflower Proper.
  • Lands – Kincardinshire, Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, and Ayrshire
  • Origin of name – Place-name from Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England

This brief historical overview of the surname is the official history of the surname and is made available by Clan Barclay International. More information and details of family history can be obtained from: Barclay, Leslie. The History of the Scottish Barclays, reprinted with an index and glossary by Carolyn L. Barkley, FSA Scot ( Willow Bend Books, 1995) and Barclay, Hubert F., Charles W. Barclay and Alice W ilson-Fox. A History of the Barclay Family, 2 vol. (reprint, 1924-1933, Willow Bend Books, 2003).

Roger de Berchelai came to England with William the Conqueror and was granted Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire. This early form of the name was believed to be the Anglo-Saxon version of ‘beau’ meaning beautiful, and ‘lee’, a meadow or field. Roger was mentioned in the Domesday Book as well as his son, John. In 1069 John de Berchelai accompanied Margaret (later St. Margaret) to Scotland. In gratitude for his service, King Malcolm (Canmore) granted him the lands of Towie, near Turriff, in Aberdeenshire, as well as the title, Barclay of that Ilk. 900 years of Barclay history in Scotland descend from John’s three sons, Walter, Alexander, and Richard.

In the early days of violence, there was a black day when a nunnery was plundered by the Towie Barclays. Following this event, Thomas the Rhymer wrote the following lines:

“Towie Barclay of the Glen, Happy to the maids, But never to the men.”

This curse was said to haunt the male-heir. It was a belief held so strongly that in 1755, it was given as a reason for the heir’s sale of Towie Barclay Castle, which then passed into the keeping of the Governors of Robert Gordon’s Hospital in Aberdeen. No Barclays have lived in the Castle since.

The Barclays formed important alliances and held land throughout the north-east of Scotland, principally Towie, Mathers, Gartley and Pierston in Aberdeenshire. They also settled in Banff, Collairnie in Fife, Brechin in Forfarshire and Stonehaven in Kincardineshire. One family line settled on the west coast in the Ardrossan and Kilbirnie areas in Ayrshire. Throughout Scotland, they played important roles in national affairs. Sir David Barclay was one of Robert the Bruce’s chief associates and was present at many of his battles. Sir Walter de Berkeley, Gartley III, Lord Redcastle and Inverkeillor, was Great Chamberlain of Scotland 1165-1189. Alexander de Berkeley, Gartley IX, became Mathers I in 1351 when he married Katherine Keith, sister of the Earl Marischal. Their son Alexander was the first to adopt the Barclay form of the surname. Sir George Barclay, Gartley XIX, was Steward of the household of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a later Sir George was second in command of James IV forces in the Highlands in the 1689.


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Walter de Berkeley, Great Chamberlain of Scotland's Timeline

Cullen Castle, Auldhaven, Banffshire, Scotland
Age 60
Age 62
Gartley, Banffshire, Scotland
Age 63
Gartley, Banffshire, Scotland
Age 64
Gartley, Banffshire, Scotland
Age 79
Cullen Castle, Auldhaven, Banffshire, Scotland
Age 84
Gartley, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
February 14, 1992
Age 84
May 28, 1992
Age 84