ESTCOURT, Sir Giles, 1st Bt. (1601-1668), of St. Edmund's College, Salisbury and Long Newnton, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. 16 Oct. 1601,1 1st s. of Sir Edward Estcourt of St. Edmund’s College and Mary, da. of Sir John Glanville† of Kilworthy, Devon.2 educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1618; L. Inn 1618.3 m. by 1649, Anne (bur. 6 July 1655), da. of Sir Robert Mordaunt, 2nd bt. of Massingham Parva, Norf., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.).4 suc. fa. 21 Aug. 1608;5 kntd. 1622;6 cr. Bt. 17 Mar. 1627.7 d. 17 Nov. 1668.8
Estcourt’s grandfather and namesake, a younger son of the Gloucestershire family, settled at Salisbury and, as standing counsel to the corporation, served for the borough in five Elizabethan Parliaments. While Estcourt’s father was on his deathbed, the Wiltshire courtier Sir Thomas Gorges† sought a grant of his wardship, with a view to matching him with his own grandchild,13 but the wardship went, more appropriately, to the boy’s uncle Sir Thomas Estcourt* and Sir Jasper Moore†. On coming of age in 1622, he was knighted with Sir William Master* and closed his wardship accounts ‘after some trouble and words’ with his uncle.14 Five years later he was created a baronet, a favour he may have owed to his relationship with the duke of Buckingham through his first cousin Giles Mompesson*.15
Estcourt had inherited the manor of Long Newnton, some ten miles south-west of Cirencester;16 but presumably at his election in 1628 he depended on the interest of Master, who had married his sister. He was not named to any committees, but made five recorded speeches. On 4 Apr., in committee of the Whole House, he opposed a motion of John Selden to debate the king’s propositions for supply before voting subsidies ‘because it will take up much time’.17 He objected to the admission of counsel in the Cornish election case (12 May), ‘as though the justice of this House might be mitigated by counsel’.18 He also spoke against the subscription bill (21 May), intended to require the clergy to subscribe only to those of the Thirty-Nine articles that concerned faith and the sacraments, which suggests that Estcourt was not sympathetic to puritanism.19 On 6 June, in committee of the Whole House on the heads of the Remonstrance, he observed ‘that it is more safe for the king to be ruled by public counsels than by private’.20 However this does not seem to have been a coded attack on Buckingham, as five days later he protested at the parliamentary criticism of the duke as taxing the king’s judgment, thereby provoking (Sir) John Eliot to demand that he be called to the bar of the House to explain himself. He escaped censure by offering the rather lame excuse that he ‘meant to spare the nomination of any. The king is able to see the persons blameable with his eyes as well as with ours’.21
In November 1628 one of Charles I’s equerries was fined in Star Chamber for prosecuting Estcourt for the death of a woman whom he had kicked. Although the coroner’s inquest had found that the woman had died ‘Visititatione Dei’,22 the equerry had obtained a grant of the forfeiture of Estcourt’s estate from the king. It may have been this affair which led to the introduction of a bill in 1628 and 1629 Parliament to prevent the begging of forfeitures before attainder, a measure which failed to emerge from committee in either session.23 The episode probably also explains why Estcourt, who served as sheriff of Wiltshire in 1626-7, was not restored to the Wiltshire bench until December 1628.
During the 1630s Estcourt clashed with the parishioners of St. Edmund’s, Salisbury, over possession of the churchyard, but by the time High Commission became involved in 1638 the matter had been amicably settled, as Estcourt had agreed to convey the churchyard to the parish.24 Estcourt fought for the king in the Civil War, following which he seems neither to have compounded for his delinquency nor to have paid an assessment of £1,000.25 He was nonetheless forced first to mortgage and then to sell the College House.26 Estcourt evidently avoided matrimony until comparatively late in life. He died on 17 Nov. 1668, and was buried at Long Newnton the following day. No will or letters of administration have been found.27 His son, the 3rd baronet, sat for Malmesbury in the Exclusion Parliaments.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. Glos. RO, D1571/F107.
- 2. W. Symonds, ‘Estcourt of Salisbury, Rollestone, and Long Newnton’, Wilts. N and Q, v. 325-6.
- 3. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.
- 4. Symonds, 325.
- 5. C142/306/158.
- 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 180.
- 7. C66/2377/18.
- 8. Symonds, 326.
- 9. C231/4, ff. 168, 260; C66/2859.
- 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 154.
- 11. C181/5, f. 42.
- 12. Churchwardens’ Accts. of St. Edmund and St. Thomas, Sarum ed. H.J.F. Swayne (Wilts. Rec. Soc. 1896), p. 205.
- 13. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 452.
- 14. Glos. RO, D1571/F107-8.
- 15. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 91.
- 16. C142/306/158.
- 17. Procs. 1628, vi. p. 61.
- 18. CD 1628, iii. 378.
- 19. Ibid. 522; N. Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists, 137.
- 20. CD 1628, iv. 160.
- 21. Ibid. 247.
- 22. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 440; Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, iii. app. 19.
- 23. CD 1628, ii. 42, iii. 404; CJ, i. 920b, 921b.
- 24. CSP Dom. 1637-8, p. 211; 1638-9, pp. 72, 215.
- 25. CCAM, 52, 727, 1119.
- 26. R.C. Hoare, Hist. of Modern Wilts. iv. 593.
- 27. Symonds, 326.