GIFFORD, George (1552-1613), of Weston-under-Edge, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. 1552, 1st s. of John Gifford of Weston, Glos. and Ithell, Hants by Elizabeth, da. of Sir George Throckmorton†. m. Eleanor, da. of Sir Edmund Brydges†, 2nd Baron Chandos, by Dorothy, da. of Sir Edward Bray†, 2s.1 suc. fa. 1563. Kntd. 1596.
Gent. pens. 1578.2
The above indentification for the Morpeth MP rests upon the likelihood that Gifford, a gentleman pensioner, would have been nominated for the borough by Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, who was both warden of the east march and captain of the gentlemen pensioners. Hunsdon nominated other Morpeth Members at this time. Gifford was later brought into Parliament for Cricklade, through the influence of his in-laws, the Brydges family, Lords Chandos. In fact his fellow-Member in 1597 was his nephew, Gray Brydges, a lad of 18. Gifford is recorded as serving on one committee during the Parliament of 1597, concerning armour and weapons (8 Nov.).3
Gifford was only ten years old when his father died and his wardship was sold to his relatives, Kenelm† and Thomas Throckmorton†. He inherited the manors of Ithell, Hampshire, Weston-under-Edge and Norton, Gloucestershire, and the farm of Sheverton, in Pickering, Wiltshire, valued in all at £116 8s.8d. He was granted livery of his lands in 1573, by which time, if his statement made in 1611 that he had served the Crown for 39 years is to be accepted, he was already a member of the royal household. His marriage to a step-daughter of Sir William Knollys and a kinswoman of the Cecils, should have enhanced his career. In the event he made errors of judgment and suffered from growing financial embarrassment. When he died it was remarked that his loss would have ‘been less, both for himself and his posterity, if he had gone thirty years ago’. In October 1590 he was given leave to travel abroad. At Cadiz, he served in the lord admiral’s regiment and was knighted, but in the following year he incurred royal disfavour after an affray in which he was wounded. In 1599 the Privy Council sent him with a message to the authorities at Plymouth who were preparing for Essex’s Irish campaign; he took no part in the actual expedition and was not involved in the Essex rebellion, beyond being mentioned as ‘a man of resolution’ who might have been used to rescue the Earl from prison. This may have been enough to destroy what remained of his standing at court. In his own words, he was ‘as deep in disgrace as years’, having no life ‘but to make his death show his life’s innocence’. In 1608 debts compelled him to sell the manor of Norton to (Sir) Richard Fiennes and to mortgage Weston to the King. These transactions produced £1,600 and at the end of that year he was £1,200 in debt. In 1611 he forfeited goods worth £2,000 for evading the customs. He died in June 1613.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. vii. 282, 302; viii. 204; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 250; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 16; Wards 9/138/428.
- 2. E407/1/11, 23, 24.
- 3. Glover, Vis. Yorks, 521; D’Ewes, 553.
- 4. Wards 9/138/428; Rudder, Glos. 106-7, 134, 144-6; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 457; PRO Index 6800; Lansd. 85, f. 45; HMC Hatfield, vi. 192, 435; vii. 374, 517; APC, xxix. 453, 634; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 562; 1603-10, p. 469; 1611-18, p. 16; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. viii. 240.