GAWDY, Henry (c.1553-1621), of Claxton, Norf.

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.1553, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Gawdy by his 1st w. Audrey or Etheldreda, da. and coh. of William Knightley of Norwich; half-bro. of Clipsby. educ. Trinity Coll. Camb. 1571; I. Temple 1571. m. (1) 14 Dec. 1573, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Warner of Norwich, 6s. inc. Robert 1da.; (2) Elizabeth Barnardiston, wid. of Sir Charles Framlingham, s.p. suc. fa. 1588. KB July 1603.

Offices Held

J.p. from c.1583, q.1601, Suff. from c.1592, q. by 1601, sheriff, Norf. 1592-3, 1607-8; dep. lt. by 1619; alderman, Norwich by 1600; commr. musters 1601, for imprest of seamen 1620.1


‘Well affected both in religion and to the service of her Majesty, and the good of the state’, Gawdy took a prominent part in Norfolk affairs. In 1594 his career was interrupted by a ‘great and dangerous sickness’ from which he was fortunate to recover; three years later he became the first member of his family to be chosen as knight of the shire. He was named to a committee on 8 Nov. 1597 to discuss ‘the great and burdensome charge’ on subjects obliged to maintain themselves in armour and weapons. He may have been the ‘Mr. Henry Lewsey’ named to the monopolies committee on 10 Nov. 1597; he would in any case have been eligible to sit as knight of the shire. In 1601 he was chosen (but apparently not returned) at Orford before being elected junior knight for Norfolk. By virtue of his position as knight for Norfolk, Gawdy was eligible to attend the following committees: in 1597, enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), the penal laws (8 Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.), export of wool (18 Nov.), a charter for Great Yarmouth (23 Nov.) and land reclamation (3 Dec.); in 1601, the penal laws (2 Nov.), the order of business (3 Nov.), monopolies (23 Nov.), the payment of tithes in Norwich (27 Nov.) and the reform of the abuses of the clerk of the market (2 Dec.). He thought of standing again, in 1604, but did not proceed. His declining years were disturbed by a troublesome dispute with Thomas Woodhouse over a manor, which necessitated his appearance before the Privy Council in 1614. He made his will 23 Jan. 1621, asking to be buried in Claxton church, and bequeathed all his goods to his eldest surviving son Robert, the sole executor. Another son, Sir Anthony, was to receive a life annuity of £100, while other legacies were left to three grandchildren and a servant. Gawdy was dead before 12 Mar. that year, when his will was proved. Among the numerous manors owned by him in Norfolk were those of Hellington, Rookland, Shipdham, Tayborough, Cantley and Saxlingham Nethergate. He also left property in Norwich, held of the mayor and corporation.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: G.M.C.


  • 1. C142/223/59; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 127; Rylands Eng. ms 311; APC, xxx. 239, 371; xxxii. 3; Blomefield, Norf. x. 115-16; APC, 1617-19, p. 465; 1619-21, p. 248
  • 2. Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 261; Add. 38139, f. 145; APC, xvii. 147; xviii. 101, 373; xx. 123; xxi. 335; xxiii. 328; xxv. 401; xxvi. 66, 98; xxvii. 216; xxviii. 120, 347; xxx. 239, 371, 438; xxxi. 327, 405; HMC Hatfield, iv. 602; A. H. Smith thesis, 271-3, 284-93; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 559, 561, 562, 567, 622, 624, 649, 654, 663; Neale, Commons, 59, 60; HMC Gawdy, x. 71, 74; HMC 7th Rep. 528a; APC, 1613-14, pp. 400, 605, 621; PCC 25 Dale; C142/385/63.