Herbert Pelham, 7th Marquess of Hexham, known as Bertie, is the owner of Brancaster Castle in Northumberland. He is second cousin once-removed to his predecessor, under whom he served as Brancaster's agent. On New Year's Eve 1925, he married Edith Crawley and became stepfather to Edith's daughter, Marigold.
An only child, Bertie grew up in the area around Brancaster, and came to visit the castle every so often. In 1923 after his father died, he left the army and was made Brancaster's agent. He and his cousin Peter, the 6th Marquess of Hexham, were very good friends.
When Lord Sinderby rents Brancaster for the grouse season in 1924, Bertie is invited to attend along with the Crawley family. He offers to have Lady Edith Crawley stand next to him while he is shooting. He remarks he has very few ambitions in life, for he is very content where he is.
Later, he asks Edith to dance with him after she dances with her brother-in-law. He notes she seems anxious, and she explains that she and Tom were talking about "our ward" - a girl her family adopted who is growing up at Downton (who is in truth her own illegitimate daughter). Tom had revealed to Edith that he knew who Marigold was and agreed to keep her identity secret.
Edith asks Pelham about his cousin, Lord Hexham. He eventually asks her if she always asks so many questions.
Some months later, Bertie and Edith meet in London. Bertie asks Edith out for a drink. At the magazine office, Edith fires her editor, Mr Skinner, and then meets Bertie to tell him she is on a tight schedule to finish the editing and lay out of the next issue by four o'clock the next morning. Pelham immediately offers to help her.
When the magazine is finished Edith thanks Pelham and is grateful for his help. He tells Edith how she inspires him, something which Edith finds flattering.
Edith and Bertie meet in London where they share some personal stories, and then have tea at Edith's flat where they share their first kiss. Pelham tells Edith that he couldn't stop thinking about her. Edith tells Pelham that he is very sweet. Bertie admits that he has not got much to offer Edith as an estate agent.
Edith invites Bertie to Downton's Open House. Edith meets Bertie at The Drive, where they share their second kiss. Before dinner, Edith introduces the children Sybbie, George, and Marigold. During dinner with the Crawleys, Bertie realizes that the family does not have a plan for the Open House for the village the next day and he quickly devises a successful day.
He later came with the Crawleys to watch Henry Talbot and Charlie Rogers race at Brooklands with Edith but the event ended tragically with the death of Rogers. He later spends time with Edith in London at Rosamund's home. Pelham tells Edith he loves her and proposes marriage. Edith is delighted but she does not immediately give Pelham a proper answer.
His cousin, Peter, dies in late July/August 1925 and Bertie succeeds to the title of Marquess of Hexham, becoming the seventh. Soon after the former Lord Hexham's death, Bertie stops at Downton Abbey at Edith's invitation on his way down south to Lord Hexham's deathplace in Tangiers. Bertie has decided to not disturb his cousin, who had already been buried, but will settle his affairs in Tangiers then return home and have a memorial service, to which he hopes Edith will attend.
Bertie eagerly awaits an answer to his proposal, but Edith hesitates due to her having to eventually tell him about Marigold's true parentage. He explains to her he is nervous about his new position and wants her by his side to help him through it, hinting that his widowed mother, the only family he now has left, does not have much respect for nobility.
The following morning, Edith is cornered by Mary into telling Pelham the truth. He is shocked by this, and he calls off his proposal, but he does so because he is hurt that Edith didn't trust him with the truth. He leaves soon after for Tangiers, but not before Edith and he wish one another luck.
Bertie and Edith meet up again in London at the Hotel Ritz,a meet up organised by Mary and her aunt Rosamund. Edith is surprised to see Bertie again. Edith revealed to Bertie that he broke her heart and that Marigold is still a threat and that Bertie's mother wouldn't accept her for it. However Bertie revealed that ever since he broke up with Edith, he has not been managing well and reveals that he wants Edith back and also wants to marry her.
With their engagement back on, Edith, along with her parents, Lord and Lady Grantham, are invited to Brancaster Castle to meet Bertie's formidable mother. Mrs Pelham is initially pleased until she complains about the late Peter Pelham's immoral behaviour, and her hope that Bertie and his wife will uphold higher moral standards. Bertie sternly shuts her down. Later Edith, worried that her history would make her unsuitable for the role, came clean to Mrs Pelham about her past about Marigold being her illegitimate daughter. Although Mrs Pelham is initially against the possible marriage of her son to Edith, Bertie sticks up for Edith and claims he will marry her nonetheless and that he is not a child anymore and will make his own decisions.
Various guests are invited for dinner as Bertie was planning to announce his engagement to Edith. Mrs Pelham, about to say something horrid, is quietly reminded by Robert that she'll lose her son if she does so. Mrs Pelham holds her tongue and instead wishes happiness for Bertie and Edith and toasts them, as everyone does. After the grand dinner was over, Mrs Pelham is over by Edith and says that she was glad that Edith was upfront and honest with her, so therefore she agrees to the marriage and thinks it will be a success. Bertie and Edith share a kiss.
Bertie and Edith get married at the St Michael's Church at Downton with everyone in attendance, including his mother. They host a large reception in the Great Hall at Downton Abbey. As they leave for their honeymoon, Mrs Pelham wishes Edith luck and happiness.
Bertie and Edith leave for their honeymoon and share another kiss in the car as the clock strikes midnight for the New Year, 1926.
"Would you believe me if I said I couldn't live without you?" -Bertie to Edith in The 2016 Christmas Special
"For me, her story only shows her courage, her decency, her loyalty." -Bertie about Edith and MarigoldImages
|Appearances and Mentions|
|Series 5||Episode 1||Episode 2||Episode 3||Episode 4||Episode 5||Episode 6||Episode 7||Episode 8||Christmas Special|
|Series 6||Episode 1||Episode 2||Episode 3|
|Episode 4||Episode 5|
|The film||The film|