GATES, Geoffrey (b.c.1550), of Bury St. Edmunds, Suff.

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.1550, 1st s. of Geoffrey Gates of Walton or Waltham, Essex by Elizabeth, da. of William Walsingham of Footscray, Kent, under-sheriff of London. educ. L. Inn 1566, called 1583. m. Elizabeth, da. of John Pinchon of Writtle, Essex by Jane, da. of Sir Richard Empson, at least 1da.1

Offices Held


Gates was the stepson of Peter Wentworth, his wife was the stepdaughter of Thomas Wilson and his uncles included Walsingham, Sir Henry Gates and Sir John Gates, vice-chamberlain of the Household to Edward VI and a follower of Northumberland. He was himself a supporter of the puritan cause in the House of Commons but his parliamentary career was not spectacular. Returned for three Cornish boroughs through Walsingham’s influence, he was appointed to a committee on presentations (19 May 1572) and spoke in 1572 during the debate on the third reading of the bill concerning rites and ceremonies (20 May). Uniformity, he argued, could never be looked for in the church, and its attempted enforcement at the hands of the law could only have detrimental effects. He introduced a petition from the Essex puritans on 14 Dec. 1584.2

Gates was an active member of Lincoln’s Inn, where he was, inappropriately it would seem, master of the revels for All Saints Day 1566. In 1568 he and a Mr. Oldsworth, probably William Oldsworth, were granted their chamber for life because of their expenditure on renovating it. Gates presumably had some military experience (perhaps in the Netherlands) if, as seems likely, he was the author of a 1579 treatise, The Defence of Military Profession.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.


  • 1. Vis Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 266; (xiv), 607; Egerton 1560, f. 269; PCC 16 More; DNB (Gates, Sir John); C. Read, Walsingham, i. 8-11; iii. 425.
  • 2. W. A. Copinger, Suff. Recs. iii. 7; Neale, Parlts. i. 300-1; ii. 61; D’Ewes, 207, 339; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. f. 31; Collinson thesis, 504.
  • 3. Information from Miss Jean Gates.