GILDENEY, Henry (d.1430/1), of Bristol.
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Family and Education
m. (1) Joan; (2) Joan or Alice; (3) Margaret Basset (d.1431).1
Bailiff, Bristol Mich. 1419-20; sheriff 12 Oct. 1428-3 Oct. 1429.2
Constable of the Bristol Staple 22 Sept. 1429-30.3
Gildeney first appears in March 1407 when he and John Juyn (later j.c.p.) acted as mainpernors for a fellow Bristolian then involved in a case for debt. By March 1419 he was a member of the common council and at Michaelmas following became bailiff. His name was unsuccessfully put forward for the office of sheriff of Bristol county at Michaelmas 1421, 1424, 1426 and 1427 and also, in the meantime, in January 1422, when the then sheriff Nicholas Bagot died in office, but not until 1428 was he actually appointed. It was during his term of office that, in May 1429, ordinances were confirmed in the town council regulating the craft of cordwainers. Shortly before his term ended, he was made a constable of the Bristol Staple, he and his fellow constable, John Newton II*, together with the mayor, John Burton II*, deciding a suit for debt in favour of John Forster, clerk, and against John Twyte, which later, on an appeal, came before the chancellor and royal council.4Thrice chosen parliamentary representative for Bristol, always with fellow merchants, Gildeney was present at all ten elections held between 1419 and 1429 inclusive, on the last occasion making the return in his capacity as sheriff. When he and John Langley† were elected in 1426, they were entrusted with a petition protesting that the writ of summons had not referred to the fact that Bristol’s MPs were not only burgesses of the town but also knights of the shire. The petition was evidently successful, and on 1 June Bristol received letters patent exemplifying the right.5
Evidence of Gildeney’s private and mercantile interests is disappointingly scanty. It is, however, known that in 1422 he was in possession of a garden in Bristol opposite St. Philip’s church and, in 1423, he had a shop on the bridge over the Avon. His will, moreover, reveals that he owned buildings in ‘Redeclyvepitte’, received rents from premises in Old Corn Street and from ‘le Wildehous’ in King’s Barton, Gloucestershire, and had purchased lands in Wanstrow, Somerset. Of his commercial ventures nothing is known save that he imported wine from Spain in the Katherine of Salisbury in October 1407. Gildeney’s will, composed on 13 Dec. 1430 and proved before the mayor and sheriff on 12 Sept. 1431, provides several interesting personal details. He wished to be buried in the crypt of St. Nicholas’s church, Bristol, and requested that a chaplain should offer prayers for seven years for his soul, the souls of Thomas and John Gildeney, and those of his late wives. His many bequests included legacies to Worcester cathedral, the chapel on the bridge, £18 to the chaplain who was to celebrate his obits, and 2s. for distribution weekly for two years among the bedridden in return for their prayers. Certain items call for special notice: his bequest of two suits of armour with a pole-axe and a lance, with cuirasses and war-shoes for each, a baselard with an ivory haft decorated with silver (this to his wife’s nephew John Basset) and his gift of 10s. to Wanstrow parish church ‘so that a cow may be bought and with the profit thereof the testator’s obit kept there’. Gildeney was survived by his third wife, Margaret. She was to receive £34, which was part of a debt owed by Andrew Park of Bristol, the rents due from John