GILBERT, Henry (bef.1636-1716), of Locko, Derbys.
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Family and Education
b. bef. 1636, s. of Henry Gilbert of Locko by Dorothy, da. and coh. of Sir Richard Harpur of Swarkeston, Derbys. m. 18 Feb. 1658 (with £2,000), Elizabeth (d. 1665), da. of Sir John Bernard of Abingdon, Northants., 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 1da. suc. fa. c.1657.1
Commr. recusants, Derbys. 1675.2
The Gilbert family purchased Locko, near the border of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, during the reign of Elizabeth I, having been settled at Lullington in Derbyshire since the reign of Henry III. Three successive generations of the family in the 17th century bore the christian name Henry, making identification difficult. The Member’s father was probably a Royalist in the Civil War: in 1643 his rents were being collected by the county treasurer, and in 1646 he compounded for £800 which was subsequently reduced as he had joined a Parliamentarian garrison. In the 1670s and early 1680s Henry jnr. was active as a j.p. and commissioner for recusants. At a meeting of gentry called to agree upon candidates for the county in 1685 he was reported as likely to follow the majority in supporting Sir Robert Coke† and Sir Gilbert Clarke*, ‘although he has a particular kindness for Mr [Anchitell] Grey*’. This would have split his interest between the two party camps.3
Gilbert’s attitude to the Revolution is unknown, but either he or his son (b. 1659) was the captain of a company of foot in the Derbyshire militia by July 1690. Gilbert was returned for the county in 1690 with Sir Gilbert Clarke. On a list of the new Parliament, annotated by the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†), he was classed as a Tory with a query as to whether or not he was a Court supporter. In October 1690 he was named to draft two bills, while in December 1690 Carmarthen thought him likely to support his ministerial position in case of an attack in the Commons. In April 1691 Gilbert was classed as a Country supporter by Robert Harley*. On 6 Jan. 1692 he presented a bill to prevent the buying and selling of offices. The only other reference to him in the Journals occurs on 12 Feb. 1695 when a complaint was brought on his behalf alleging a breach of parliamentary privilege following his receipt of a subpoena to appear before the court of Chancery.4
Gilbert did not stand again, but continued to express his opinions on parliamentary affairs to Thomas Coke* in a series of letters, dating from 1699 to 1703, on matters as diverse as the Derwent navigation, the alteration in the method of assessing the land tax, a bill to make it easier for gentlemen to return tithes to the church and on the qualifications for j.p.s, especially a clause to exempt those over 60 years old from serving in the office of justice or sheriff if they wished. Not surprisingly, given this correspondence, Coke’s electoral agents regarded Gilbert as a supporter before both county elections in 1701.5
It is difficult to determine the point at which Gilbert’s son Henry began to play a larger role in county affairs. It was probably the younger Henry who was reported as making interest for the beleaguered Coke before the election of 1710. By the time the Member died in 1716, aged ‘some years above fourscore’, he was certainly suffering from debilitating ill-health, to judge from the post-mortem carried out at his request and communicated to the bishop of Lichfield, which described ‘several stones taken out of his bladder, one above eight inches and about seven ounces weight’, and a major artery which was ‘ossified and perfect bone, but hollow’.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. Fam. Min. Gen. iii. 869–70; info. from Derby Local Stud. Lib.; W. Woolley, Hist. Derbys. (Derbys. Rec. Soc. vi), microfiche of Sanders Coll. ff. 168–9; Add. 6691, f. 277.
- 2. CTB, iv. 791–3.
- 3. Woolley, 82–83; Lysons, Derbys. pp. cxxix–cxxx; Sloane 4065, f. 245; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 302; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1643–60, p. 1494; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 792; vii. 302, 356, 497; HMC Rutland, ii. 86.
- 4. HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 399; Derbys. RO, Chandos-Pole-Gell mss 48/27c.
- 5. HMC Cowper, ii. 385, 388, 411, 454; iii. 19–20; BL, Lothian mss, Robert Harding to Coke, 15 Nov., 20 Dec. 1700, Gilbert to same, 18 Nov. 1701.
- 6. HMC Cowper, iii. 91–92, 96; Sloane 4065, f. 245.