GILBERT, Robert II, of Gloucester.
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Family and Education
Commr. of inquiry, Glos. Sept. 1412 (the death of Thomas Compton at Gloucester), Nov. 1421 (ownership of the manor of Brokenborough); array May 1418; to treat for royal loans Nov. 1419, Jan. 1420; of gaol delivery, Gloucester castle Sept. 1424; to assess a parliamentary subsidy, Glos. Apr. 1431.
Escheator, Glos. and the adjacent march of Wales 3 Nov. 1412-10 Nov. 1413, 8 Dec. 1416-30 Nov. 1417, 4 Nov. 1428-12 Feb. 1430.
J.p. Glos. 26 Nov. 1416-28 Apr. 1437 (q).
Steward of Llanthony priory by Gloucester by Jan. 1417-c.1434.2
Bailiff, Gloucester Mich. 1418-19, 1424-5, 1429-30, 1432-3.3
Gov. of L. Inn 1424-5.4
Steward for the duchy of Lancaster, Herefs. and Glos. (in office under Queen Katherine for Whetenhurst and Southam) 1425-6.5
Surveyor and controller of pavage, Gloucester 12 Oct. 1429-39.
Although possibly the son of a cloth manufacturer of Gloucester, Robert entered the legal profession. His training had been completed by November 1396, when he provided securities for Walter Punchard of Winchcomb and his wife, and also acted for them in Chancery regarding their appeal against excommunication by the bishop of Worcester. He purchased property in his home town at Easter 1403. The following year he was mentioned as a beneficiary in the will of the wealthy Gloucester merchant, John Banbury, whose widow Joan he married before 1406, when the pair conveyed three messuages and eight shops in Gloucester to trustees. In November 1409 Gilbert further increased his holdings in the town by two more messuages and another shop, and when, three years later, his landed property in the shire as a whole was assessed for the purposes of taxation, it was found to be worth at least £20 a year.6
By this time Gilbert was well on the way to establishing a reputation as an able lawyer, and had embarked on an active and prominent career in legal and administrative work which was to last some 25 years. The townspeople of Gloucester engaged him to defend their liberties in 1409, and his subsequent elections as parliamentary burgess eight times and as bailiff four is proof enough that he long continued to enjoy their trust in his capabilities as an advocate and administrator. In October 1416 he was put forward by the abbot of St. Peter’s, Gloucester, as his proxy in the forthcoming Parliament, and it was shortly after this that he was made a member of the Gloucestershire bench, as one of the quorum, a position he went on to hold without break for over 20 years. In 1417, still early in his career as legis peritus, he was being spoken of as ‘a sufficient learned man and a sadde’. By then he was already steward for Llanthony priory, and the monks had leased to him property in West Street, Gloucester, rent-free while in office, for 49 years. During his long stewardship Gilbert carried out many tasks on the priory’s behalf. At Easter 1418 he was one of four arbitrators chosen to settle a dispute between the priory and St. Peter’s abbey; a few years later he was responsible for negotiating with the council of John, duke of Bedford, with regard to the repayment of loans made by the prior to the duke; and in 1428 he was appointed with the cellerer, John Garland, and the King’s attorney-general, John Vampage† of Pershore, to intercede for Llanthony with the bishop of Hereford over a property dispute. Gilbert had been admitted to the society of Lincoln’s Inn prior to 1420, being made its governor in 1424. That he was a capable administrator is suggested by his appointment as escheator of Gloucestershire for three separate terms, his stewardship of certain duchy of Lancaster estates and his position as surveyor of the pavage granted to Gloucester in 1429. He was present at the shire elections to the Parliaments of 1431, 1433 and 1435.7
In the course of his career Gilbert’s services were called upon by various members of the gentry of Gloucestershire. In April 1413 he had witnessed a conveyance on behalf of Edmund, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, and on another occasion he attested the settlement of a dispute about rent between the hospital of St. Margaret of Wotton and Richard Manchester. In about 1418 he was made a trustee of the Guise family estates at Elmore and Minsterworth. Thomas More I of Gloucester (his colleague in the Parliament of 1415) named him as an executor of his will in 1421. During the reign of Henry VI Gilbert himself brought actions in the court of common pleas for the recovery of debts of £24 and £95 from Walter Eaton*, the former recorder of Norwich, and William Colston of Bristol, ‘serjeant of the mace’, respectively, eventually winning his case against the latter in the autumn of 1430 and thereby taking over Colston’s properties in Gloucester. A significant connexion came late in his career with his employment, in 1434, as a trustee of the manor of Boddington, which belonged to Sir John Beauchamp (later Lord Beauchamp of Powick).8
Gilbert held extensive properties in Mary Lane and East Street, Gloucester, in 1436, and before his death also acquired an interest in lands in Eastington. He is last recorded in February 1437 when he ‘received’ the Irish attorneys of the prior of Llanthony, and the fact that he was not re-appointed to the Gloucestershire bench two months later may point to his death about that time. Certainly, by 1455 his son John (who had been present at the parliamentary elections when Robert had last been returned for Gloucester) had inherited his many properties in the county.9
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Authors: L. S. Woodger / J. S. Roskell
See also Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. lxxiv. 87-89. He is to be distinguished from the Wilts. coroner of the same name, who was probably the Robert Gilbert, citizen of Salisbury, probate of whose will was dated 21 Oct. 1440: PCC 28 Luffenham; CCR, 1435-41, p. 400.
- 1. CP25(1)79/84/24; CPR, 1405-8, p. 401; 1408-13, p. 7.
- 2. C115/K2/6682, ff. 121, 127, 189, 245.
- 3. Gloucester Corporation Recs. ed. Stevenson, 1102-3; E372/264 m. 14d, 270 m. 15d; E368/198 communia recorda m. 9. VCH Glos. iv. 373 is in error in listing John Strensham* and Michael Salisbury as bailiffs in 1418-19; they held office in 1419-20: Gloucester Corporation Recs. 1082.
- 4. LI Black Bk. i. 2.
- 5. Somerville, Duchy, i. 636; DL29/653/10564.
- 6. E101/339/2; CCR, 1396-9, p. 71; PCC 6 Marche; CP25(1)79/84/4, 24, 85/29, 45; C115/K2/6682, ff. 37d-39.
- 7. LI Adm. i. 2; Gloucester Rental 1455 ed. Cole, 92; VCH Glos. iv. 37; J. Smyth, Lives of the Berkeleys ed. Maclean, ii. 43; C115/K2/6682, ff. 107-14, 192; C219/14/2, 4, 5; SC10/46/2253.
- 8. CCR, 1413-19, p. 101; Gloucester Corporation Recs. 1081; PCC 52 Marche; CPR, 142