Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Mulled Wine & Music
FoBC Drinks Party - Sunday 10th December 2017

 Those who were able to brave the snowy weather had an enjoyable evening
with an ample supply of mulled wine, mince pies, sweets and savouries, 
while Sarah Dalrymple-Smith played the piano.
The Castle Christmas Tree and a flickering log fire added to the cozy festive atmosphere.

The promised musicians, Shepherds Crook, were unable to get through the snow 
from Winchcombe so we entertained each other with charades 
and finished the evening by singing The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Beauchamp Chapel, Church of St Mary, Warwick, 

and the Berkeley connection.

Talk to the Friends on Sunday 19th November

Henry Phythian-Adams gave his fellow Friends another fascinating illustrated talk, the subject this time being the Beauchamp Chapel in Warwick Collegiate Church.   
Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, was the husband of Elizabeth Berkeley and he founded the lavishly decorated chapel in 1439 as a Chantry Chapel, where priests would pray for the souls of himself and other members of his family. 

Henry shared his photographs of the family tombs and the incredibly detailed iconography, in both carvings and stained glass.  The clothes on some carvings were copied from medieval Mystery Plays and angels in stained glass hold pages of authentic music.
It is in this richly detailed chapel that the well-known Bear & Ragged Staff symbol of the Beauchamp family was depicted for only the second time:  this can be seen in the stained glass window in the Great Hall at Berkeley Castle.

The Beauchamp Chapel, courtesy of

Henry Phythian Adams with Charles Berkeley, at an earlier talk.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Mulled Wine and Music 

FoBC Drinks Party on Sunday 10th December

 An entertaining couple of hours with drinks and light refreshments to look forward to
before Christmas, with musicians including the group Shepherd's Crook. 
Details in the August edition of the Friends' magazine The Berkeley Buttress
(accessible via the FoBC homepage)
FoBC's 10th Anniversary Dinner last year in The Great Hall.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

R J G Berkeley

 It is with great sadness that the Committee of the Friends of Berkeley Castle
has to advise you that Mr Berkeley died on Thursday 2nd November 2017.
Thankfully he died peacefully at home surrounded by his family.

There will be a private funeral.
Details of a Requiem to be held in the New Year will be advised in due course.

Mr Berkeley with Charles Berkeley at a recent event at the Castle Yurt.

Monday, 30 October 2017

BBC TV's "Escape to the Country" re-visits Berkeley Castle

Members of yet another film crew were visiting the Castle last week, this time for a future edition of Escape to the Country.  Information to follow when a broadcast date is known.

On this occasion Charles Berkeley was interviewed by Jonnie Irwin, the presenter assisting potential residents of the area and showing them around.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Will this be another FoBC Project?

There are many possibilities for FoBC funding but the two holes in this 17th century Dutch painting make it a prime candidate to be a future beneficiary of the Friends fundraising efforts.   Full marks to those who know where it resides at present......

FoBC's Beetle Drive - Thursday 5th October 2017

Following the success of our first ever Beetle Drive last year the event was repeated, and it was great  fun.  No dice was lost on the floor and no red wine was spilt, but it was so noisy on occasions we could not hear the difference between shrieks of frustration and of pleasure!  The concentration on adding up the scores showed that there was no lack of competitiveness among the participants.
Our thanks to FoBC Committee member David Bowd-Exworth for organising an excellent finger buffet in the interval.
How did you win that round so quickly!

FoBC Chairman Paul Walkden awarding the wooden spoon (chocolates) to daughter Sarah (for the second year!)

and the overall winner, Valerie Moores (beginner's luck!)

Enhancements to the Lily Pond

Longstanding Friends will know that FoBC raised money for the installation of a fountain in the Lily Pond in 2009.   The latest addition to the Lily Pond is these mermaids, a work of art installed on the rear wall and created by Berkeley Castle's own Artist in Residence 2017, Belinda Durrant.   Her inspiration was one of the stained glass windows in the Great Hall and Belinda explains that science, history, social history, literature and folklore all become entangled, and inform her imagery.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

FoBC Stand at Frampton Country Fair - Sunday 10th September

A steady stream of visitors were welcomed to the FoBC stand, including one of our staunch supporters, Professor Mark Horton.
Being near the Craft Tent and a car park we were well positioned.
FoBC's chain mail suit and helmet were on display, together with our recently acquired Longbow,
and a Tudor headdress courtesy of Alison Thompson.
Particular thanks to FoBC Deputy Chair Diana Merrett, who will be very glad of more volunteers to help chat to visitors,
if we take a stand again in 2018. 
FoBC's chain mail suit and helmet in the Castle Armoury

FoBC talk on the legal case "Fitzhardinge v Berkeley" - Thursday 7th September

Castle Archivist David Smith gave us another hugely informative and entertaining talk, this time on the peerage disputes of the 19th century which originated in 1785 with the liaison of the 5th Earl with Mary Cole.   All the litigants had the surname Berkeley but this talk title is used because all the children of the 5th Earl had Fitzhardinge as a middle name.

A report will appear in the next edition of The Berkeley Buttress.
Berkeley WI provided an excellent afternoon tea, ably assisted by FoBC Committee Members.

David Smith with FoBC Deputy Chair Diana Merrett

Friday, 1 September 2017

FoBC's new Sundial in the Gloucestershire Gazette - Thursday 31st August 2017

Following the unveiling of the Friends' new Sundial at the Annual Summer Party
on Sunday 20th August, the local Gazette has picked up the story:


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

FoBC at Frampton Country Fair - 10th September 2017

If you are going to the Fair, do come and visit the FoBC stand
and meet our volunteers and visitors.

If you have an hour or so to spare, please do consider helping out
by joining the rota of Members manning our stand.

Contact Eleanor at the Castle :

FoBC Summer Party - 20th August 2017

We were delighted to be joined by new members at the Summer Party, some of whom
were very successful in the excellent raffle.

Committee members were kept busy distributing Pimms and an extensive finger buffet.

We were very pleased to welcome Ralph Fawkes, Chief Development Engineer of
local firm Renishaw, who kindly supported the production of the new sundial,
specially commissioned for a empty plinth in the Castle grounds,
and who worked with FoBC Member Bob Hunt, who worked tirelessly to design
an original and relevant feature for the gardens.
Charles Berkeley and Ralph together, with Bob in the foreground:


Despatching the Berkeley Buttress - Sunday 20th August

Early on Sunday morning some Committee Members and Friends assembled to collate
and dispatch the August edition of The Berkeley Buttress.
After that we had the opportunity of seeing visitors to the Castle enjoying some
of the current exhibitions and activities:

FoBC members-only: Summer 2017 visit to Cirencester Park

We were fortunate that Lady Bathurst was kind enough to accommodate us for two visits,
as our Friends-only outing was hugely over-subscribed.
On each occasion Lady Bathurst was a charming and knowledgeable guide around the house
and under-gardener Danny Abbot was our guide in the grounds.
See The Buttress in August for an update.

FoBC Visit to the Berkeley Hunt Kennels & Picnic - Thursday 6th July 2017

Michael Stokes, the Huntsman, gave us a brief history of the Hunt,
and a lot of information about the hounds, who greeted us very enthusiastically.
Our tour of the kennels included some adorable newly born puppies,
after which we enjoyed our picnics over on the lawn, on a perfect summer's evening.

Berkeley's Archaeological Dig - Visit on Thursday 1st June 2017

Our annual visit to the University of Bristol's archaeological dig in Berkeley was, as usual,
very well attended and we were blessed with fine weather.
Professor Mark Horton was our host this year, explaining progress and developments.
A full report will appear in the Friends' Berkeley Buttress, August edition.

Talk by Professor Mark Horton - Wednesday 17th May 2017

Entitled:  "The Berkeley Company and the Colonisation of America",
Mark gave us another highly informative and entertaining talk.
Details in August's edition of the Friends' magazine, The Berkeley Buttress:

FoBC AGM - Monday 24th April 2017

Our sincere thanks to long standing Committee Member Alison Thompson for her commitment over many years to the administration of the Friends.  We are also losing the services of Sue Walker who has assisted the work of the Committee more recently.  They will both be missed.

The Committee comprises:

Chairman,          Paul Walkden
Vice Chairman,  Diana Merrett
Secretary,           Jane Handoll

Other Committee Members:

David Bowd-Exworth
Eleanor Garratt-Taylor
Linda Lewis
Valerie Moores
Christopher Smith  (resigned subsequent to the AGM)

FoBC 10th Anniversary Celebrations - 9th January 2017

Photos from a wonderful evening, with drinks in the Long Drawing Room followed by Dinner in The Great Hall.  The proceedings were enlivened by various musicians and by Matt the Jester.

Guest speaker was Andrew Jardine, Agent to the Berkeley Estate at the time of the formation of the Friends and instrumental in its formation.

A Society page of Cotswold Life also featured the occasion:

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