GILMYN, John (by 1503-57/58), of London.

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. by 1503, s. of John Gilmyn of Bristol, Glos. m. (1) by 1532, Anne, da. of Thomas Wellys; (2) by 1539, Susan (d.1544 or later), wid. of one Parker, 2s. at least 2da.; (3) 5 July 1554, Eleanor or Helen, wid. of Nicholas How of London and William Pounsett (d. Feb./May 1554) of Barking, Essex.1

Offices Held

Yeoman usher, the chamber by 1524; jt. keeper of Bristol castle from 1524; bailiff, the hundred of Powder, Cornw. 1534; serjeant of the woodyard by 1541-5 or later; dep. collector of the customs, Bristol May 1545; harbinger to the Household by 1547-d.2


John Gilmyn was the son of a Household official and probably brother to the Richard Gilmyn who was a yeoman of the guard in Henry VIII’s later years. It was as a yeoman usher in the King’s chamber that Gilmyn waited on the peers at the coronation feast of 1533. By 1539 he had taken as his second wife the ‘late Mistress Parker, now Mistress Gilmyn’ whom the King sent to accompany Anne of Cleves to England and who received £40 for doing so. That the speedy breakdown of the royal marriage did not cost the Gilmyns the King’s favour is shown by his gift of plate at the christening of their son Henry in 1542. Gilmyn combined with his Household duties an interest in the liquor trade in both London and Bristol. Among the houses which he leased in London from 1541 were a brewhouse in St. Dunstan’s called Le Bolte and Tunne and two inns in Thames Street, the Rose and the George. Two years later he leased the ‘prise’ wines at Bristol previously leased by Henry White of Bristol and Thomas White I of Coventry.3

Gilmyn had more than one connexion which could have helped to yield him a seat for Bramber in the Parliament of 1545. Either he or his father may have been the John Gilmyn who was bailiff of the archbishop of Canterbury’s manor of Tarring in 1524, but although Tarring lies within a few miles of Bramber the office is unlikely to have conferred more than marginal influence. Of greater interest is the link between Gilmyn and Sir William Goring, with whom Gilmyn and his wife had served at court and in the household of Anne of Cleves. Goring may himself have been returned to this Parliament for Sussex, and his relative John Covert stood close to the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, the regular patron at Bramber and the sponsor of Gilmyn’s fellow-Member Sir John Clere. Yet another possibility arises from the fact that Gilmyn was almost certainly returned for Bramber in succession to Richard Watkins, whose deputy he was about to become at Bristol, and finally his election may have been supported by the King’s favourite Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, with whom he had long been acquainted through their posts at Bristol castle. Nothing is known about Gilmyn’s part in the House.4

By 1547 Gilmyn had been appointed harbinger to the Household and it was in this capacity that he attended the funerals of Henry VIII and Edward VI. Most of the references found to him in the last decade of his life relate to his work as purveyor. His third marriage followed shortly on Eleanor Pounsett’s bereavement and its haste was thought to reflect his greater interest in her property than respect for convention. He made his will on 18 Oct. 1557, revoking all his previous ones. After a lengthy preamble asserting his faith and relying on the prayers of ‘all Christian brethren ... that thereby I may the sooner obtain everlasting life’, he ordered his executors to pay his debts and provided for his wife and children. He reserved £16 a year for the education of his son Henry until the age of 28, hoping that the youngster would study at Oxford or at an inn of court or of Chancery. He also left a gown to Mr. Wilkinson, master cook of the Queen’s hall, and 40s. to Henry Brickett, clerk comptroller of the Household. As executors he named his brother-in-law Henry Leigh and nephew Garrard Leigh and as overseer Bishop Thirlby of Ely. The will was proved on 18 June 1558 and an inventory of his goods was compiled in the following month. His widow married as her fourth husband Cornelius de Vowze.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. LP Hen. VIII, i, iv, xiv; C1/702/24; Req.2/24/63.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, iv, vii, xvi, xx; LC2/2, f. 32, 4/7, f. 15; E122/22/1.
  • 3. CPR, 1494-1509, p. 594; 1549-51, pp. 170-1; LP Hen. VIII, i, vi, vii, xii, xiv, xv, xvii, xviii; C1/802/4.
  • 4. Suss. Rec. Soc. lvi. 80.
  • 5. Req.2/24/63; PCC 29 Noodes; City of London RO, Guildhall, rep. 13(2), f. 341v; 14, ff. 300, 318v.