GALLYS, Richard (c.1517-74), of Windsor, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1517, s. of James Gallys (d. c.1540) of Windsor, warden of the Trinity guild, by Joan, da. of one Hobbes of Eton and the ‘Chequers’, Windsor. educ. Eton c.1529-33; King’s, Camb. aged 16, 13 Aug. 1533, BA and fellow 1536/7; Barnard’s Inn. m. Alice (d.1581), 10s. 2da.2

Offices Held

Alderman, New Windsor 1548, mayor 1561-2, 1566-7, 1570-1.


Gallys, removed as alderman for refusing to take office as bailiff, owned a house in the town, at one time known as the ‘Chequers’, and was landlord of the Garter inn. He also had property in Datchet, Buckinghamshire, and Clewer, Berkshire. His sister was married to Richard Needham, one of the clerks of St. George’s chapel, Windsor.3

A man of strong religious convictions, Gallys was proceeded against, as early as 1541, when he was probably still a law student, being accompanied by ‘one Pates of Thavies Inn’, for ‘withstanding the censing of the altars on Corpus Christi even by the curate of St. Andrew’s, Holborn, and saying openly that he did nought’. Another charge against him was of ‘vexing the curate in the body of the church in declaring the King’s injunctions and reading the bishops’ book, so that he had much ado to make an end’. He was probably the ‘one Gailes’ imprisoned in Windsor castle for a short time early in Mary’s reign. No details are given: perhaps his outspoken protestantism had got him into trouble again.4

He quickly made his mark in Parliament, if Strype is right in saying that he was the burgess who introduced a motion about the succession on 16 Jan. 1563, ‘which was but the next day after the Speaker was chosen and accepted’. The succession was evidently one of the subjects about which he felt strongly: on 15 May 1572, during the debate on Mary Queen of Scots, he made a speech justifying the soubriquet of ‘Gallys the doctor’ given him in the previous Parliament. ‘In great congregations and assemblies the custom hath always been that the puisne doth begin to speak. I, though in age superior, yet in wisdom and understanding am of this society the most puisne and inferior’. He next quoted Theophrastus on the need for punishment in society, and likened Mary to Clytemnestra, ‘a killer of her husband and an adultress’. When he heard how she had plotted against Elizabeth, he thought they should ‘Cut off her head and make no more ado about her’. His only other reported speech in this Parliament was on the rights of borough officials to regulate weights and measures (11 June 1572).5

Gallys died 30 Nov. 1574, aged, if the King’s, Cambridge, register is correct, 58, not 68 as in Ashmole. His will, dated 5 Nov., was proved 14 Dec. He committed his soul to God,

surely trusting to the merits and mercies of Jesus Christ only, which is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of all wretched and penitent sinners ... desiring him to give me grace to endure without wavering in this faith so long as my life shall endure in my body.

He asked to be buried ‘Christian like’ in Windsor parish church, near to his parents and his brother William, and for a sermon to be preached at the funeral by one of the prebendaries of Windsor, or some other minister learned in divinity. A penny dole, up to a maximum of £6, was to be given to the poor at his burial. The will made arrangements to perpetuate a charitable bequest made by his mother to the town, adding £30 to it; his son John enlarged it still further. Other donations included a ‘comely dinner’ to the corporation and their wives, and 26s. 8d. for a brawn for the dean and canons. Details are given of legacies to his large family, several of whom, including the widow, were to be executors. His brother-in-law Richard Needham was one of the three overseers.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Ashmole, Berks. iii. 70; PCC 23 Tashe, 46 Martyn; Eton Coll. Reg. ed. Sterry, 134.
  • 3. Bodl. Ashmole 1126, f. 36; Strype, Annals, i(1), p. 439; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 14; Windsor recs., list of officials; W. H. St. John Hope, Windsor Castle, 257; PCC 46 Martyn.
  • 4. Cooper, Ath. Cant. i. 561; APC, v. 26.
  • 5. Strype; CJ, i. 62; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. ff. 11, 61; Neale, Parlts. i. 250.