GORGES, Sir Robert (c.1589-1648), of Redlynch, Som.
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Family and Education
b. c.1589, 4th but 3rd surv. s. of Sir Thomas Gorges† (d.1610), of Longford Castle, Wilts., and Helena, da. of Ulf Henrikson von Snakenborg of Ostergottland, Sweden, wid. of William Parr, 1st mq. of Northampton; bro. of Sir Theobald Gorges†.1 educ. Magdalen, Oxf. 1605, aged 16, BA 1608; M. Temple 1608.2 m. c.1612, Mary, da. of William Harding of Claygate, Surr. and h. to her bro. William, 4s. 2da.3 kntd. 30 June 1616.4 d. 25 or 26 July 1648.5
Gorges was descended from Theobald Russell, Member for Hampshire in 1331 and 1334, whose son changed his name on succeeding to the Gorges estates in Somerset and Dorset. His own father, Sir Thomas, who represented Downton in 1586, served for over three decades in Elizabeth I’s privy chamber. With the fruits of office, he acquired a substantial estate in six counties, lavishly rebuilding Longford Castle, in Wiltshire, as his country seat.11 While at Oxford, Gorges engaged with credit in philosophical disputation with William Seymour* in James I’s presence. He married a Surrey heiress, but sold most of her property to purchase Redlynch, in south Somerset, for £7,800 from the recusant Fitzjames family in 1617. He must be distinguished from a cousin of the Wraxall branch, knighted in 1619, and from a son of Sir Ferdinando Gorges† who deputized as governor of Plymouth.12
Gorges secured his three parliamentary seats through the local influence of his brother-in-law Sir Robert Phelips*.13 Representing Ilchester in 1625, he neither joined in debate nor secured any nominations, and it was Phelips who claimed privilege for him on 6 July over a case at the assizes.14 In 1626 he transferred to Taunton, securing a single appointment as the last Member named to the committee for the bill to sever the entail on the Phelips estate at Barrington, Somerset (27 February). He again sat for Ilchester in the 1628-9 Parliament, but left no mark on its records.15
Unlike his brother, Sir Theobald, who sat for Cirencester in the Long Parliament until disabled for non-attendance, Gorges was a sufficiently committed parliamentarian to be nominated to numerous commissions in Somerset and Surrey during the Civil War. He died intestate in 1648. His male descendants were short-lived, and on the death of his grandson, Poyntz Gorges, Redlynch was inherited by his daughter Agnes, who married her cousin Robert Phelips†.16
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 42; Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 344.
- 2. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.
- 3. Vis. Som. 42; Hutchins, 344; Manning and Bray, Surr. iii. 69.
- 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 158.
- 5. SP23/72/407.
- 6. C231/4, ff. 188, 201.
- 7. A. and O. i. 335, 451.
- 8. Ibid. 460.
- 9. Ibid. 541, 545, 636, 974, 976, 1093.
- 10. Ibid. 624, 1243.
- 11. VCH Hants, v. 183, 206; Manning and Bray, iii. 69, 94; HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 208.
- 12. R. Gorges, Fam. of Gorges, 112; Som. and Dorset N and Q, xiii. 59; Shaw, ii. 172; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 355.
- 13. Vis. Som. 83.
- 14. Procs. 1625, p. 323.
- 15. Procs. 1626, ii. 134.
- 16. Keeler, Long Parl. 192; PROB 6/35, f. 57v; C. Clay, Public Finance and Private Wealth, 169.