KIRK (KIRKEBY), Gilbert (by 1484-1546), of Exeter, 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. by 1484. m. (1); (2), 2s. 1da.; (3) by 1532, Agnes, 1s. 2da., 1s. illegit.2

Offices Held

Bailiff, Exeter 1515-16, member of the Twenty-Four 26 Sept. 1524-d., receiver 1528-9, mayor 1531-2, 1539-40.3


All that is known of Gilbert Kirk’s parentage and origins is that he was not a native of Exeter. He served his apprenticeship under Robert Browne, was admitted a freeman in 1504-5 and settled in the parish of St. Mary Arches. In 1523 his goods were assessed at £350 for the subsidy and at the time of his death he owned a house in London. His success provoked the accusations against him which led to the temporary confiscation of his goods, and his leniency towards Protestants offended both Bishop Veysey and the recorder Sir Thomas Denys; yet John Hooker judged his civic career exemplary, its sole blemish being his wife’s quarrel with another woman over precedence.4

It was the second of two writs describing William Hurst and Thomas Spurway as disabled by sickness which led to the election of Kirk and John Pasmore to the Parliament of 1542, then in its second session. Although, like Pasmore, Kirk had the advantage of his own accommodation in London, he was given £4 towards his costs when he set out four days after the by-election. He was back in Exeter on 13 Apr., the day after Spurway (whom he had replaced) left the city to return to the Commons. After being allowed wages at 2s. a day for 14 days’ absence and a further 2s. for ‘a bill made by Mr. Stockley’, Kirk repaid the remainder of the £4 to the city’s receiver. He did not return to the Parliament.5

Both the Members whom Kirk and Pasmore had thus briefly replaced were to outlive them, Pasmore dying in 1544 and Kirk on 16 Mar. 1546. By a will made four days earlier and proved before the end of the month Kirk provided for his wife Agnes, for his children by his second and third marriages and for his bastard son Richard Bacyn. His heir was not his son Geoffrey by his second marriage but his 12 year-old son Thomas by his third, and on Thomas’s death his inheritance was divided between his two sisters. Kirk’s widow erected a tomb over his grave in the church of St. Mary Arches and afterwards married John Southcote I.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. PCC 6 Alen; C142/74/29
  • 3. R. Izacke, Exeter (1681), 108, 115, 116, 120; LP Hen. VIII, xiii; Exeter act bk. 1, f. 105; 2, f. 75v.
  • 4. Exeter, Hooker’s commonplace bk. f. 345; W. T. MacCaffrey, Exeter 1540-1640, p. 257; Exeter Freemen (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. extra ser. i), 64; E179/96/147; PCC 6 Alen; Trans. Dev. Assoc. lxiii. 376; lxx. 420; HMC Exeter, 361; J. Hoker, The description of the citie of Excester (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. xi), 903, 916, 933.
  • 5. Exeter act bk. 2, f. 57v.
  • 6. C142/74/29; PCC 6 Alen; Exeter, Hooker’s commonplace bk. f. 345.