GALE, John (1516/17-54), of Crediton, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 1516/7, 1st s. of Gilbert Gale of Kinon in Crediton, by Christian, da. of Henry Bishop. educ. Corpus, Oxf., adm. 17 Feb. 1533. m. Elizabeth, da. of (Sir) Philip Butler of Watton at Stone, Herts., s.p. suc. fa. 1552.2

Offices Held

Secretary to Sir John Russell , Baron Russell, later 1st Earl of Bedford, by I547; clerk of the privy seal at Dec. 1548-d.3


John Gale was admitted to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, as ‘discipulus’ in 1533. He was almost certainly secretary to John, Baron Russell, by the time of his election to the Parliament of 1545, and both on that occasion and in 1547 he must have owed his return to his master’s patronage. Although the indenture of 1545 does not survive, it appears that Russell intervened at a late stage, for both on the county return and on the sheriff’s schedule Gale’s name is entered over an erasure. It was Russell, too, who procured Gale’s appointment in the privy seal office and who probably arranged his fine match with the daughter of Sir Philip Butler. Among smaller fayours done to his secretary must be numbered Russell’s persuasion of the city of Exeter to make Gale a grant of money and his request of August 1548 to Admiral Seymour to give Gale a lease of two messuages in North Mirares, Hertfordshire.4

In 1552 Gale’s father left him some property in Devon, together with household equipment, plate and jewelry, but these and his own possessions he was to enjoy for only two years more. By his will, made on 4 Oct. 1553 and containing a preamble notably Protestant in tone, he bequeathed nearly all his property to his wife, whom he made sole executrix: he was still living in August 1554, but his will was proved on the following 21 Nov. His widow took as her second husband Edward Buggin.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. C219/282/2; Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age on admission to Corpus, Emden. Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 226. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 389; Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 476; C142/100/26.
  • 3. Exeter act bk. 2, f. 86v, 87; CPR, 1548-9, p. 81; 1554-5, p. 203.
  • 4. C219/18C/32, 33; Exeter act bk. 2. f. 86v; CSP Dom. 1547-8, p. 10.
  • 5. PCC 22 Powell, 12 More; CPR, 1554-5, p. 203; Clutterbuck, ii. 476.