GASCOIGNE, Sir John (by 1510-68), of Cardington, Beds.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1510, o.s. of Sir William Gascoigne of Cardington by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. and h. of John Winter of Cardington. m. by 1531, Margaret, da. and coh. of Sir Robert Scargill of Thorpe Hall, Richmond, Yorks., 2s. inc. George 1da. suc. fa. 1540. Kntd. 1541.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Beds. and Bucks. 1542-3. commr. musters, Beds. 1546; j.p. 1547-63, q. 1564-d.; almoner at coronation of Edward VI 1547, of Mary 1553; recorder, Bedford by 1566.2


John Gascoigne is first glimpsed early in 1540 when he attended the reception of Anne of Cleves at Blackheath. Following his father’s death later in the same year he started to take part in local administration, and his knighthood in 1541 and election for the shire to the Parliament of 1542 accorded with his status and connexions. Pricked sheriff during the first prorogation, he mustered the Bedfordshire contingent for the Continental campaign during the second and himself fought in France after the dissolution. As one with recent military experience he may have been re-elected in 1545 when only the name of the second knight of the shire for Bedfordshire, Edmund Conquest, is known. In 1546 Gascoigne was present at court for the arrival of the Admiral of France. A year later he was one of the almoners at the coronation of Edward VI and he served in the same capacity at that of Mary in 1553. His lack of enthusiasm for reform seems to have proved a deterrent to his return under Edward VI and Elizabeth, but he sat in the first and last of Mary’s Parliaments, on the last occasion with his son George as one of the Members for Bedford.3

Gascoigne’s private life was unhappy. In July 1543 his wife complained to the Privy Council about his behaviour and in 1556 Cardinal Pole ordered him to end his adultery with a servant. During the 1560s the extravagance of his son George led Gascoigne to try to preserve his and his wife’s lands for their younger son and daughter and the descendants of all three children. George Gascoigne complained of being disinherited but none the less he was eventually to receive a patrimony worth £135 a year, as well as the £60 yielded by his mother’s property, to which he was also heir. In addition to being sued by his son, Gascoigne was involved in a series of lawsuits with his neighbours and his wife’s kin.4

Sickness prevented Gascoigne from performing his almonership at the coronation of Elizabeth and his son George deputized for him. During the remaining nine years of his life Gascoigne’s health deteriorated but he remained active on the Bedfordshire bench, although rated unsympathetic to the Elizabethan settlement by his bishop. In the mid 1560s an action brought by his ex-mistress Anne Drury in the common pleas for money owing to her led to his brief imprisonment in the Fleet. He made his will on 2 Apr. 1568 and died two days later. Beyond a few charitable legacies, he provided for his wife and younger son, and left the residue of his goods and property to his son George, whom he instructed to compound with Anne Drury to end an annuity settled by himself on her.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 72, 116, 172-3; C. T. Prouty, George Gascoigne, 7, 9, 10 and n, 19; LP Hen. VIII, xvi.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi. CPR, 1547-8, p. 80; 1563-6, p. 19; Vis. Beds. 72, 116; information from G. D. Gilmore.
  • 3. VCH Beds. ii. 342; iii. 166, 184, 197, 234-6; Glover’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 238 et passim; LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xxi; Prouty, 7-8, 10-11; St.Ch.4/6/11; APC, iii. 335-6; v. 66; C142/151/3.
  • 4. APC, i. 151; Prouty, 7-8, 10-11, 13, 19, 21, 36-38, 45; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(2), p. 391; PCC 12 Babington; CPR, 1550-3, p. 311; 1560-3, p. 410; 1566-9, pp. 300-301, 377; C3/41/22, 76/8; VCH Beds. ii. 342; iii. 166, 184, 234-6; LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xvii, xx; Lansd. 5, f. 31; St.Ch. 4/6/11; 5/G2/7, L33/28, N2/24.
  • 5. Lansd. 8, ff. 77 seq.; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 28; Prouty, 37, 316-17; C142/151/3; PCC 12 Babington; CPR, 1563-6, p. 287.