GIFFORD, Roger (by 1538-97), of St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London.

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. by 1538, s. of Ralph Gifford of Steeple Claydon, Bucks. by Mary, da. of Sir Edward Chamberlain of Woodstock, Oxon. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1555, BA 1556, fellow of Merton 1557, MA 1560, fellow of All Souls 1563, MB 1563, MD 1566. m. Frances Rowlesley of Derbys., 2s. 2da.

Offices Held

Fellow, College of Physicians, president 1581-4; one of Queen’s physicians ordinary 1587; precentor of St. David’s 1592.


Created doctor of medicine immediately before the Queen’s visit to Oxford in 1566, Gifford was one of the disputants before her. After leaving Oxford, he doubtless practised in London. His will mentions a farm at Tollesbury, Essex, and lands in Durham, but nothing has been found to show that he ever lived in the north. After 1587 his constant access to Elizabeth brought him many opportunities for financial profit. His £100 p.a. as royal doctor was augmented in 1592 by a sinecure at St. David’s, which carried with it a prebend. Perhaps the 2nd Earl of Pembroke, who returned him to two Parliaments for Old Sarum, was also responsible for gaining him the St. David’s position. They must have met at court and Pembroke may have employed Gifford professionally at some time. Gifford died on 26 or 27 Jan. 1597. He asked that his funeral should be without pomp. Sir Thomas Egerton was bequeathed a jewel with the Queen’s picture, ‘in remembrance of my duty and unfeigned affection towards his lordship’; Merton College received some of his books, those in French, Italian and Flemish going to his friend Henry Cuffe, servant of the Earl of Essex. The will was proved in August 1597.

An anonymous report dated 30 Jan. 1576 includes Gifford’s name among Catholic members of the College of Physicians. Even if true at the time, Gifford may have conformed later, though his court and cathedral appointments are not proof that he did: the report may be based upon no more than the known religious views of the Gifford and Chamberlain families.

PCC 2 Pynnyng, 77 Cobham; Glover, Vis. Yorks.(Surtees Soc. cxlvi), 521; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 236; W. R. Munk, Roll of Royal College of Physicians, i. 68-9; PRO Index 6800, f. 140; Foster, Al. Ox. i(2), 564; Wood, Fasti, i. 176; CSP Dom.1581-90, p. 705; Lansd. 21, no. 60.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.C.H.