Norborne Berkeley, 4th Baron Botetourt

The Right Honourable
The Lord Botetourt
Colonial Governor of Virginia
In office
Preceded by Francis Fauquier
Succeeded by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
Personal details
Born c. 1717
Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire, England
Died 15 October 1770
Governor's Palace, Williamsburg, Virginia
Spouse(s) never married
Stoke Park in 2011, viewed from south, as visible from the northbound carriageway of the M32 motorway which now cuts across the former parkland. Now known as The Dower House and split into private apartments. Rebuilt by Norborne Berkeley in 1750 it eventually became used as a dower house by the Dukes of Beaufort at nearby Badminton House

Norborne Berkeley, 4th Baron Botetourt (c. 1717 15 October 1770), was a courtier, member of parliament, and royal governor of the colony of Virginia from 1768 until his death in 1770.


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.[1][2][3][4]


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.[5]


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.[6]

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.


  1. Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, eds., The House of Commons, 1754-1790, vol. 2 (1985), pp. 85-86
  2. G. F. Russell Barker, The Record of Old Westminsters, vol. 1 (1928), p. 81
  3. J. K. Laughton, 'Thompson, Sir Charles, first baronet (c. 1740–1799)', rev. Tom Wareham, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)
  4. E. H. Chalus, 'Manners , Mary Isabella, duchess of Rutland (1756–1831)', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Chester
Benjamin Bathurst
Member of Parliament for Gloucestershire
with Thomas Chester

Succeeded by
Thomas Chester
Thomas Tracy
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Ducie
Vice-Admiral of Gloucestershire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Berkeley
Preceded by
The Lord Chedworth
Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire
Peerage of England
Abeyant Baron Botetourt
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