Norborne Berkeley, 4th Baron Botetourt
|The Right Honourable|
The Lord Botetourt
|Colonial Governor of Virginia|
|Preceded by||Francis Fauquier|
|Succeeded by||John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore|
Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire, England
15 October 1770|
Governor's Palace, Williamsburg, Virginia
Norborne Berkeley was born about 1717. He was of the family of Berkeley of Stoke Gifford in Gloucestershire, descended from Maurice de Berkeley (d. 1347), who had acquired the manor of Stoke Gifford in 1337, the second son of Maurice de Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley (1271–1326). In 1726, Berkeley was admitted to Westminster School.
His political career began in 1741 when he was elected to the House of Commons as a knight of the shire for Gloucestershire, a seat he held until 1763. Considered a staunch Tory, Berkeley's fortunes were boosted considerably on the accession of George III in 1760, when he was appointed a Groom of the Bedchamber and in 1762 (until 1766) Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. In 1764, almost 400 years after the title went into abeyance through lack of direct heirs, he successfully claimed the title of Baron Botetourt as the lineal descendant of Maurice de Berkeley (d. 1361) and his wife Catherine de Botetourt. He thus took a seat in the House of Lords as the 4th Baron de Botetourt, and in 1767 was appointed a Lord of the Bedchamber and in 1768 Governor of Virginia.
He died in Williamsburg on 15 October 1770, after an illness lasting several weeks. Botetourt never married and left no direct heirs.
A statue of Botetourt was placed in the Capitol in Williamsburg in 1773. The Capital of Colonial Virginia was located in Williamsburg from 1699 until 1780, but at the urging of Governor Thomas Jefferson was moved to Richmond for security reasons during the American Revolution. In 1801 the statue of Botetourt was acquired by the College of William and Mary and moved to the campus from the former Capitol building. Barring a brief period during the Civil War when it was moved to the Public Asylum for safety, it stood in the College Yard until 1958 when it was removed for protection from the elements, and then in 1966 was installed in the new Earl Gregg Swem Library, in the new Botetourt Gallery. In 1993, as the College celebrated its tercentenary, a new bronze statue of Botetourt by the William and Mary alumnus Gordon Kray was installed in the College Yard in front of the Wren Building, in the place occupied for generations by the original.
Botetourt County, Virginia, was named in Botetourt's honour. Historians also believe that Berkeley County, West Virginia, and the town of Berkeley Springs, both now in West Virginia, were also named in his honour, or possibly that of another popular colonial governor, Sir William Berkeley.
Lord Botetourt High School in the unincorporated town of Daleville in Botetourt County, Virginia, is also named for him, as is the Botetourt Dorm Complex at The College of William and Mary. Two statues also adorn the campus of The College of William and Mary. Gloucester County, Virginia has an elementary school named for governor. Both Richmond, Virginia and Norfolk, Virginia have streets named in his honour.
- Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, eds., The House of Commons, 1754-1790, vol. 2 (1985), pp. 85-86
- G. F. Russell Barker, The Record of Old Westminsters, vol. 1 (1928), p. 81
- J. K. Laughton, 'Thompson, Sir Charles, first baronet (c. 1740–1799)', rev. Tom Wareham, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)
- E. H. Chalus, 'Manners , Mary Isabella, duchess of Rutland (1756–1831)', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)
- Taylor Stoermer's "Will the Real Lord Botetourt Please Stand?" in the Journal of the American Revolution
- Norborne Berkeley at Encyclopedia Virginia
|Parliament of Great Britain|
|Member of Parliament for Gloucestershire
with Thomas Chester
| Succeeded by|
The Lord Ducie
|Vice-Admiral of Gloucestershire
| Succeeded by|
The Earl of Berkeley
The Lord Chedworth
|Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire|
|Peerage of England|