GIBBES, William I (d.1570), of Venton and Rewe, Devon.

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

s. of Thomas Gibbes of Venton. m. Dorothy, da. of Richard Berkeley of Stoke, Som., 2da.1

Offices Held

?Gent. pens. 1559.2


Gibbes’s family had lived in Devon since the fourteenth century, emerging from comparative obscurity with Gibbes’s father’s marriage into the Courtenay family, his own into a good Somerset family and his sister’s to John Fortescue of Wynston. He served in the field under Lord Russell in the suppression of the western rebellion, along with Sir Gawain and Sir Peter Carew to whom he was related through his mother. These three shared largely in the division of rebels’ lands made by Russell and confirmed by letters patent in the following year. Gibbes’s share was substantial, lying mainly in Ugborough, Brent, Tavistock and Widecombe in the Moor, formerly the property of John Bury, one of the leaders of the rebellion.3

In January 1554, at the Carew’s seat of Mohun’s Ottery, Gibbes and the Carews hatched a plot to replace Mary by Elizabeth, under the leadership of the 4th Earl of Devon and Henry Grey, 3rd Duke of Suffolk, father of Lady Jane Grey. On 17 Jan. Gibbes, the two Carews and 40 others made an abortive attempt to take Exeter. Sir Peter Carew fled abroad and Gibbes and Sir Gawain Carew were put in the Tower, where they remained until September 1554, when they were tried for treason at the Exeter assizes. Returned to the Tower, they were released in the following January. Carew was pardoned in July 1555 and Gibbes in October. He paid a fine of 1,000 marks in November 1557.4

With such a career under Mary it is not surprising that Gibbes should be found in Elizabeth’s first Parliament, no doubt obtaining his Cornish borough seat through the influence of Sir Gawain Carew, who was himself a friend of the 2nd Earl of Bedford. Towards the end of his life Gibbes became financially embarrassed, probably as the result of the fine paid in 1557, and had to sell some lands. The manors of Manworthy and Bateford went to two merchants of Exeter, and Gidecot was sold to the Arscotts of Tetcott. He died intestate on 8 Dec. 1570, administration being granted 9 Nov. 1580 on behalf of William Wotton or Wootton, the infant son of Gibbes’s elder daughter, to whom Venton passed.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 811; Vis. Som. ed. Weaver, 6; C. Worthy, Devonshire Wills, 486.
  • 2. Lansd. 3, f. 197.
  • 3. Worthy, 486-8; W. Pole, Desc. Devon, 297, 301, 310, 361, 364; Vis. Devon, 353; F. R. Troup, Western Rebellion of 1549, pp. 291, 380; CPR, 1549-51, pp. 435-6.
  • 4. CPR, 1554-5, pp. 291-2; 1555-7, p. 119; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 59; APC, iv. 403; v. 90, 281, 282.
  • 5. Pole, 301, 361; Worthy, 148-9; E407/1/6; PCC admon. act. bk. 1580, f. 211.