GAY, Richard (by 1559-1641), of Walcott Street and Westgate Street, Bath and Claverton, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

b. by 1559.1 m. (1) 26 Aug. 1592, Agnes Masters, s.p.; (2) 27 Oct. 1611, Anne Chapman, s.p.;2 (3) Alice Chambers, s.p. d. by Dec. 1641.3

Offices Held

Freeman, Bath 1580, alderman by 1614-d., mayor and coroner 1614-15, 1620-1, 1625-6, 1632-3;4 commr. subsidy, 1621-2, 1624.5


Due to the paucity of Bath’s corporation records, little can be determined of Gay’s origins or his life. It is probable, however, that he followed the customary municipal career path after gaining his freedom in 1580. He served the first of four terms as mayor in 1614-15. In 1621 during his second term, he travelled to London and negotiated the confirmation of Bath’s charter.6

In 1626 Gay was elected the senior Member for Bath, despite the fact that, being mayor, he was technically ineligible.7 However, his service at Westminster lasted less than a fortnight. On 18 Feb. he informed the Commons that one of Bath’s prominent citizens had murdered his wife before committing suicide, and that he being mayor, and thus the city’s coroner, was required to return home. The House granted him leave to depart, but Gay’s admission that he was mayor led the Commons to refer the matter of his continued membership of the House to the privileges’ committee.8 No decision appears to have been reached before the Parliament was dissolved.

On 7 Jan. 1641 Gay made his will, in which he requested burial alongside his father and grandfather at Inglescombe, Somerset. His wife, Alice, whom he named as executrix, was granted the majority of his effects, as well as jointure lands in Claverton and the house in which they resided at Westgate Street, Bath. There is no mention of any children and the majority of the document details minor bequests to relatives. No record of Gay’s precise date of death or burial has been found but his will was proved on 4 Dec. 1641.9

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Chris Kyle


  • 1. Age calculated from record of admiss. as freeman.
  • 2. Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath ed. A.J. Jewers (Harl Soc. Reg. xxvii), i. 203, 207.
  • 3. PROB 11/187, f. 351.
  • 4. Accts. of the Chamberlains of Bath, 1568-1602, p. 46; Bath RO, mayors of Bath transcript, 2; Procs. 1626, ii. 68.
  • 5. C212/22/20-1, 23.
  • 6. Bath RO, Chamberlains’ accts. transcript, no. 63.
  • 7. C219/40/134. Gay is incorrectly identified in the OR and Procs. 1626 as Richard Guy.
  • 8. Procs. 1626, ii. 68.
  • 9. PROB 11/187, ff. 351-2.