GIFFORD, George I (by 1502-43 or later), of Poynings, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1502.1

Offices Held

Commr. subsidy, Suss. 1523, 1524; j.p. 1524, 1526.2


Little trace has been found of George Gifford, who was presumably a younger son of the gentle family settled in Hampshire and Sussex since the early 13th century. In May 1523 he obtained a 21-year lease of the manors of Perching and Poynings from Henry, 4th Earl of Northumberland, who reserved to himself the right ‘to abide, dwell or lie’ at Poynings with his entourage; in the following year Gifford headed the subsidy list for Poynings with an assessment on lands worth 100 marks; and in 1527 the 5th Earl confirmed his lease and extended it for a further five years. Gifford’s local standing was recognized during these years by his appointment as a commissioner to supervise the collection of the subsidy of 1523 and by a place on the local bench. About this time he was chosen an executor to wills made by neighbours and colleagues on the bench.3

Gifford’s return for Midhurst in 1529 could have been the work of Sir David Owen or Sir William Fitzwilliam I at the prompting of the 5th Earl of Northumberland, who lived nearby: as Gifford took precedence over his fellow-Member John Bassett I he may have served in Parliament earlier in the reign, when the names of the Members are for the most part lost. The 5th Earl was financially embarrassed, and Gifford perhaps had something to do with the settlement between him and the crown contained in the Act for the assurance of his possessions to the King and his heirs (27 Hen. VIII, c.47) which was passed during the final session of the Parliament: a bill for Mr. George ‘Gyfford’, possibly the germ of the Act, was listed by Cromwell in 1533 among draft legislation. Nothing else has come to light about Gifford’s activity in this Parliament, but he presumably sat for Midhurst again in the following Parliament, that of June 1536, when the King asked for the re-election of the previous Members. (Gifford is sometimes said to have been returned on this occasion for Buckingham, but the man elected there is more likely to have been a namesake recently appointed to the newly established court of augmentations.) Five days before this Parliament opened he assisted Sir Edward Bray to seize a Spanish vessel off Brighton. He may have sat in the Parliament of 1539, another for which the names are lost. The last glimpse of Gifford comes in February 1543 when Sir Anthony Browne, the new owner of the manor of Poynings, leased him ploughlands there.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, iii.
  • 3. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 16; VCH Hants, iv. 8; Lay Subsidy Rolls (Suss. Rec. Soc. lvi), xxv, xxix, 86, 106; Suss. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. vii), 949; Recs. Barony and Rape, Lewes (Suss. Rec. Soc. xliv), 66; VCH Suss. vii. 209; LP Hen. VIII, xii. Suss. Arch. Colls. lxxvii. 256-7.
  • 4. J. M. W. Bean, Estates of the Percy Fam. 144-57; LP Hen. VIII, vi, x; Suss. Arch. Colls. lxxvii. 257.