Vice-Admiral James Berkeley, 3rd Earl of Berkeley KG, PC (aft. 1679 -- 17 August 1736) was the son of Charles Berkeley, 2nd Earl of Berkeley and Hon. Elizabeth Noel. He was a Royal Navy officer who served as First Lord of the Admiralty during the reign of King George I.
He received his commission as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy on 10 March 1699 and was promoted to Captain on 2 April 1701. He was also MP for Gloucester 1701--1702. He took part in the battle off Málaga under Admiral Rooke, commanding HMS Boyne. He was summoned to Parliament by writ of acceleration as Lord Berkeley on 5 March 1705, and continued to rise in the Navy. He commanded HMS St George in 1706, and narrowly escaped the wreck upon the Scillies in which Sir Cloudesley Shovell in HMS Association was lost on 23 October 1707. The St George ran aground on the same ledge as the Association, but was lifted off with the next wave. He was promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Blue on 12 January 1708. He recaptured HMS Bristol, taken while guarding a convoy, from the French on 9 April 1709, but she sank shortly after. On 14 November 1709 he was promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Red.
With the death of his father on 24 September 1710, he became the 3rd Earl of Berkeley and Viscount Dursley. That year, he was also made High Steward of Gloucester, Warden of the Forest of Dean, Constable of St. Briavel's Castle, and Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, which he held until 1712, and then from 1714 to his death, and Custos Rotulorum of Surrey, which he held until his death. In 1714, besides his restoration to his offices in Gloucestershire, he was made a Lord of the Bedchamber. The 3rd Earl of Berkeley.
He married Lady Louisa Lennox (24 December 1694-15 January 1716), daughter of Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond and Anne Brudenell, on 13 February 1711. They had two children, his wife dying in childbirth.
* Lt. Col. Augustus Berkeley, 4th Earl of Berkeley (b. 18 February 1715) * Lady Elizabeth Berkeley (b. 15 January 1716)
On 16 May 1717, he was made First Lord of the Admiralty, Vice-Admiral of Great Britain 18 March 1717, and a member of the Privy Council on 17 April 1717. On 31 March 1718, he was created a Knight of the Garter, and received his ultimate naval promotion, to Admiral of the Fleet, on 13 March 1719. He held the supreme post in the Admiralty Board for over a decade, before being dismissed as First Lord of the Admiralty on 2 August 1727, for opposing Sir Robert Walpole, and also left his office as Lord of the Bedchamber at this time.
He died on 17 August 1736 at the Castle of Aubigny, France, and was buried on 31 October 1736 at Berkeley, Gloucestershire. He was succeeded by his son Augustus Berkeley, 4th Earl of Berkeley.
Lord Hervey wrote "he was a man of great family and great quality, rough, proud, hard, and obstinate, with excellent good natural parts, but so uncultivated that he was totally ignorant of every branch of knowledge but his profession. He was haughty and tyrannical, but honourable, gallant, observant of his word; equally incapable of flattering a prince, bending to a minister, or lying to anybody he had to deal with."