GASCOIGNE, William (d.1423), of Bridgwater, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

May 1413
Apr. 1414
Nov. 1414
May 1421
Dec. 1421

Family and Education

m. Maud,1 s.p.

Offices Held

Collector of customs and subsidies, Bridgwater and district 25 Nov. 1408-12.

Steward of the guild, Bridgwater by June 1411-d.2

Commr. of inquiry, Som. Aug. 1416 (lands of Lord Zouche), Feb. 1422 (counterfeiters).

Biography

A frequent attestor of local deeds from 1404 until his death, Gascoigne was, as his offices and parliamentary service suggest, a prominent burgess of Bridgwater. He was a member of the delegations sent to the shire court to witness the borough’s parliamentary returns in 1410, 1414 (Apr.) and 1421 (May). His property in and around the town was substantial and at his death amounted to over 360 acres, more than 200 of these being at Exton. Much of this had been acquired piecemeal as opportunity offered, the largest purchase (costing £300) being made in 1416. On that occasion, in association with Master Richard Bruton, the chancellor of Wells cathedral, he bought the reversion of the hundred of Exton, one third of the manors of Exton and Newton Plecy and the advowsons of Hawkridge and the chapel at Newton Plecy, of which Richard Mayne II* held a lease for life from John Garton, esquire. In 1417 Bruton instructed in his will that part of his share of these properties should be sold and the proceeds distributed among the poor, but Gascoigne evidently retained his own interest in the remainder. Within Bridgwater itself he also acquired properties for the chantry of the Holy Trinity, of which he was a trustee.3

The fact that Gascoigne purchased rather than inherited his estates indicates some other lucrative source of income. A leading burgess of a port, he himself was engaged in trade, but there is also a strong likelihood that, like his nephew and namesake after him, he also made a living as a lawyer. He certainly acted as an attorney in 1408 on behalf of a London mercer engaged in a transaction in the court of common pleas regarding lands in Somerset; and several times he was a surety in the Exchequer, notably for the lessees of the alien priory of Kerswell, Devon, and for the abbot of Cleeve, Somerset. This is also suggested by evidence from the accounts of the communar of the dean and chapter of Wells for 1421-2: a ‘William Gaskyn’ was paid