GERARD, William II (aft.1520-84), of Harrow, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. aft. 1520, yr. s. of James Gerard of Astley and Ince, Lancs. by Margaret, da. of John Holcroft; bro. of Sir Gilbert. m. Dorothy, da. of Thomas Page of Sudbury Court, Mdx., 8s. inc. William Gerard III 4da.1
Receiver of Mdx. lands of Edward North†, 1st Lord North by 1552; feodary, Mdx. 1565; gov. Harrow sch. 1572; escheator, Kent, Mdx. Mar.-Dec. 1578; j.p. Mdx. from c.1583.
Gerard presumably owed his Wigan seat to his brother Gilbert, who had represented this duchy of Lancaster borough three times in the Early Tudor period, and was closely associated with Sir Ambrose Cave and Sir Ralph Sadler, successive chancellors of the duchy of Lancaster. The Gerards were in any case landowners in the Wigan district, and no doubt his candidature was locally popular. Nothing has been ascertained of his early life. He was living in London by March 1552, when Lord North sold him about 160 acres of land in Harrow-on-the-Hill. He was probably already North’s receiver for Middlesex: the first account bearing his name is dated 1552-3. He was still holding the office in 1569, but no later evidence has been found. By 1564 he had acquired extensive property in Middlesex, including the manor of Southall, which he and his father-in-law bought from William Bellamy in April 1552; the purchase also included land in Essex, at Upminster, Aveley and elsewhere. In March 1564 he bought an estate in Harrow, Greenford and Northall, Middlesex, with a house called Frere Place, from Thomas Partridge, but found difficulty in proving title. He was on friendly terms with his ‘cousin’ and namesake the lord chancellor of Ireland, who appointed him an overseer of his will, and in February 1577 asked Walsingham to arrange for him to have a licence to transport yarn, presumably as a temporary arrangement during the absence of the chancellor, who seems himself to have been receiving the profits of the licence at his death in 1581.2
Gerard died 19 Sept. 1584. His will, made in January 1582, with a codicil dated 11 Sept. 1584, was proved in October 1584. He asked to be buried at Harrow, and left a bequest, at the discretion of the executor, his son William, to repair the parish church there. His widow was to have a £20 annuity, and his two surviving daughters £200 each. Five younger sons received legacies of £100, but the second son, Richard, who had already been ‘remembered ... with more living’ than all the rest of the children, was to have only a piece of plate. The overseers were Sir Gilbert Gerard, Anthony Ratcliffe, a London alderman, and Hugh Hindley, merchant taylor of London.3