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, Peter, 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. In 1927, Edith revealed she was pregnant with his child and goes onto to give birth to a son who they name Peter.
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 figured out 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 by chance. 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 unable to stay for the drink because she is on a tight schedule to finish the editing and lay out of the next magazine issue by four o'clock the next morning. Bertie 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. Bertie tells Edith that he couldn't stop thinking about her. Edith tells Bertie 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 him to the children: her niece Sybbie, her nephew George, and her ward Marigold. During dinner with the Crawleys, Bertie realizes that the family does not plan to give guided tours during the Open House for the villagers the next day, and he quickly devises a successful plan.
He later goes with the Crawleys to watch Henry Talbot and Charlie Rogers race at Brooklands with Edith, but the event ends tragically with the death of Charlie Rogers. Later, he spends time with Edith in London at Rosamund's home. Pelham tells Edith he loves her and proposes marriage. She asks him if he would let her bring Marigold with her. He consents, but hopes they would be able to have children of their own. Edith is delighted, but does not immediately give him a proper answer.
His cousin Peter dies in late July/August 1925 and Bertie succeeds to the Marquisate of Hexham, becoming the seventh marquess. Soon after the former Lord Hexham's death, Bertie stops at Downton Abbey at Edith's invitation on his way to northern Africa. Bertie has decided to not disturb his cousin, who had already been buried in Tangiers, but will settle his affairs then return home and have a memorial service, 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 railroaded by Mary into telling Bertie 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 again in London at the Hotel Ritz, in a meeting organised by Mary and her aunt Rosamund. Edith is surprised to see Bertie again. Edith tells to Bertie that he broke her heart, that the information about Marigold’s true parentage is still a threat, and that Bertie's mother would not accept her for it. Bertie, however, reveals that ever since he broke up with Edith he has not been managing well, and tells Edith that he wants her 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, comes clean to Mrs. Pelham about her past about Marigold being her illegitimate daughter. Although Mrs. Pelham is initially against the marriage, Bertie sticks up for Edith and says he will marry Edith nonetheless. He tells his mother that he is not a child anymore and will make his own decisions.
Various guests are invited for a grand dinner, as Bertie plans to announce his and Edith’s engagement. His mother interrupts him, making a speech about thanking everyone for being there. When Bertie makes a second attempt to announce his engagement, Mrs. Pelham is quietly reminded by Robert that she will lose her son forever if she does not speak up. Mrs. Pelham interrupts Bertie again, announcing his and Edith's engagement and her wishes for their happiness. She toasts them, and everyone follows suit. After the dinner, Mrs. Pelham says she is glad that Edith was upfront and honest with her, so therefore blesses the marriage and thinks it will be a success. Bertie and Edith share a kiss.
Bertie and Edith marry at St. Michael and All Angels 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 Marigold
|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