Thomas Berkeley

Thomas de Berkeley (* c. 1293, † 27 October 1361) married Margaret Mortimer, a daughter of Roger Mortimer, in his first marriage. He supported his father-in-law in the fight against Hugh Despenser. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Boroughbridge and was only released after the fall of the Despensers. In April 1327, Mortimer put Berkeley and his brother-in-law John Maltravers in charge of the deposed Edward II, who was taken to Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

Along with the Tower and Windsor Castle, it is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in England. It has been continuously in the possession of the Berkeley family since the 12th century. What exactly happened at Berkeley Castle has never been fully explained. There were several attempts to free Edward II. On 21 September he died. Berkeley sent Thomas Gurney to Mortimer the next day to inform him.

When he was accused of causing the death of the former king after Mortimer’s fall in 1330, he stated that he had not been at Berkeley Castle at the time. In January of the following year, he was declared innocent by a jury. Thomas Gurney and William Ockley were named as the actual murderers of Edward II. Edward III probably did not believe this variant at first, for he did not publicly declare Berkeley innocent until 1335, but then received him into grace.

Edward II

Leicester, on Isabella’s orders, hands Edward II over to Berkley, who is to take him to Berkeley Castle.

Berkeley’s entrance would have to be in [Scene 18]. However, there is no such instruction. Since Alexander Dyce1 it has been inserted after 18.127, because otherwise Leicester’s following remark would hardly make sense. Another problem arises from the spelling of the name. Although it is clear that the character is Thomas Berkeley, he is referred to throughout the quarto as Bartley, a spelling not found in any of Marlowe’s sources. 2

  1. Marlowe (1850)↩︎
  2. Marlowe (1994)↩︎

Aktualisiert am 10.05.2024

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