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Pre-1500 CreateProfileRequest WilliamGostwick

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Date: Before 1490 to 1546
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William Gostwick

birth bef 1490, Bedfordshire, England
death between 1521 and 1544, Wilshamstead, England

Other Surnames: Gostwicke



This profile is part of the Gostwick Name Study.
Flag of Bedfordshire (adopted 2014)
... ... ... was born in Bedfordshire, England.

We know very little directly about William Gostwick, of Wilshamstead. The fact that Finberg calls him William 'the Elder' speaks to his position two generations before any Baronetcy, and during the 4-5 generation where the family's status at the manor of Willington was in decline, and two branches of the family had formed, some, it seems, in conflict with each other.

He is said to own land in Wilshamstead, Cardington and Willington. I suspect this is from land his kids pass on in their wills that is unaccounted for otherwise, especially Elizabeth as she was never married and certainly received her portion of inheritance.

William's son, John, was perhaps most direct in carrying a grudge against his cousin for a loan of ten pounds. John & his siblings did not ascend to live in Willington, as their great grandparents had.

There are a dizzying number of John, William, and Robert Gostwicks in play in the mid-1500s. Accordingly, when records for 'William Gostwick' have been located during this time window, they have been placed with favoritism to William Gostwick, Esq. who married Anne Pyke. Only after elimination are records placed here, with evidence of their distinction.

Marriage & Children

abt 1511, Bedfordshire, England

William Gostwick to Elizabeth? Unknown?
  1. John Gostwick, b. abt 1512, d. abt 1557
  2. Edward Gostwick, b. 1513, detailed in Thomas' will
  3. William is suspected, no evidence found
  4. Robert Gostwick, b. 1515, left a nice will as evidence
  5. Thomas Gostwick, abt. 1515
  6. Elizabeth Gostwick, b. 1516, never married, left will
  7. Edmund Gostwick, b. 1520, dead abt 1552, before Thomas' will

22-Apr-1544 to 15-Feb-1547, Gostwicke v Gostwicke, Chancery Court of England[1]

Plaintiffs: William Gostwicke, Esquire, son and heir of John Gostwicke, Knight.
Defendants: John and Elizabeth Gostwicke.
Trespasses on a messuage and loft in Willington by maintenance of Edmund Gostwicke, auditor, brother of the defendants.

1556-1558, Gostwicke v Varney, Chancery Court of England[2]

Plaintiff: John GOSTWICKE, executor of Elizabeth Gostwicke.
Defendant: Thomas VARNEY (Farney), knight, and Anne his wife, executrix and late the wife of William Gostwicke.

Loan to William Gostwicke, deceased, nephew of the said William. Bedfordshire

note: See Also: C1/1123/42

This reference to repayment of the £10 loan, originally made to his father, is the only direct reference found yet of his parentage, pending Chancery Court record availabilty.

Research Notes

All references found to *this* branch of the Gostwick tree use 'Gostwicke' spelling during the mid-1500s.

In Finberg's Gostwick's of Willington, there is perhaps no more convoluted series of court cases than those cited between pages 78-80, all revolving around the children of the William Gostwick of this profile.

Add to this the mistaken connection made in the Bedfordshire Visitations, and this created a jumble requiring deep scrutiny. It's my intent to regurgitate and shore up Finberg's position as a starting point, which I do here.

Finberg passively cites all sorts of interactions that he infers are derived from Court of Chancery records that to date are not transcribed, or available digitally. Mr. Finberg had the pleasure and convenience of visiting in person the Archives both at the Tower of London, and Kew, as well as those in Beds and Devon, all in 1939, pre WW2 record losses.

A request is being made with the National Archives to pay to digitize C 1/1300/49-51. [4-Oct-2021]

Page 78-82 were scoured to derive 'facts' that Finberg claims can be deduced from the text of the Chancery Court records above.

These should all be considered 'suspect' without a full transcription. (in progress)

pg 78 Gostwick's of Willington (2nd paragraph)

Cousins of Sir John Gostwick

Sir John's Uncle William's children
  • William had been a landowner in: Willington, Cardington, and Wilshamstead
  • Robert Gostwick, 'kinsman', and Rector of Ingatestone, mentions William's kids John & Thomas in his will of 1541.
Thomas was married without kids living in Weedon, Northants
John Gostwick, of Willington, husbandman, appt as executor of the will

22-Apr-1544, William the younger, son of Sir John, sued in court of Chancery

John & Elizabeth both, had trespassed in willington, involving their bro Edmund.

1547, Elizabeth Gostwick leaves a will including gifting the 10 pounds she was owed by William Gostwick, Esq., then relict Anne Gostwick, then Sir Thomas Verney...to charity.

pgs 79-80 Gostwick's of Willington

  • Nov-1548, John Gostwick proved the will of his sister, Elizabeth Gostwick
  • Elizabeth had pledged some of the family owned property at Wilshamstead, Cardington & Cotton End as security in a loan of grain and money.
  • Thomas, brother of John & Elizabeth, brings legal action over the property lien
  • John applies to cousin William Gostwick the Elder for the return of the ten pounds borrowed by the younger William.
  • the younger William then died, so John applied to William's relict, Anne.
  • having no luck, he brought action against Anne who was now married to Sir Thomas Verney.
  • Sir John owned cruets, cross & Chalice, aka vestiments
  • After Williams death, his relict Anne inherited all plate & jewels not bequeathed to others. This included the vestiments.
  • Sir Thomas Verney then sold the cruets, cross & chalice, openly.
  • John Gostwick, with Thomas & John Mytton reported the sale
  • 8-May-1556, Westminster, orders immediate enquiry
Local commissioners: Nicholas Luke & Lewis Dyve examined Sir Thomas Verney and took 11 sworn depositions. [3]
  1. Thomas Leigh, of Caldwell, who resided with Sir John from 1537 until his death
  2. Sir William Ward aka William Biddenham, vicar of Willington
  3. William Denn, of Bletso, past servant of John
  4. William Fayry, of Willington, servant of 14yrs standing
  5. Henry Fisher, of Renhold, another servant
  6. John Croker, servant at the manor house since William

Gostwick had inherited it, still employed there states "John Gostwick is a man of a malicious and devilish mind", whose only object was to make trouble for the Verneys.

Conclusions and Questions re: Finberg's synthesis


  • Where does the name 'William Gostwick' appear in *direct* reference to this profile.
>> Finberg implies it's the chancery docs.
ONE citation found outside untranscribed chancery records.
  • Where does the spouse's name Elizabeth come from? I havent found it yet, and suspect it could be weak logic such as 'they had one daughter Elizabeth, so mom was Elizabeth too'


  • Son, John Gostwick's Chancery Court citation is the only direct reference to his father known, and it's given as 'cousin' of another William
  • There is strong direct evidence that the group of kids placed under the parentage of William & Elizabeth Gostwick, belong together as a group of siblings.
  • There is strong evidence that this branch was not the same one who had in this generations lifetime RE-Acquired Willington Manor. The family had lived there generations prior.
  • Forcing generations into a single line family tree in Willington creates multiple issues where exceptionally old individuals are starting new families, etc. - As Finberg discusses in relation to the tree of the Visitation of Beds.
  • the years of 1540-1555 span a period where there was extreme overlap in names of Gostwicks in Willington. Every fact must be charted to keep aligned.
  • A full modern transcription is needed to fact check Finberg and properly cite facts, especially relationships.

Overview of Relationships

This William Gostwick's kids were cousins to Sir John Gostwick.

Overview of relationships. (5) Johns, (4) Williams, (3) Roberts)


  1. "United Kingdom National Archives Online" [database on-line]. Discovery.Nationalarchives.gov.uk Entry for Gostwicke v Gostwicke, Suit of Trespass, 22 Apr 1544 (accessed [4-Oct-2021]); citing National Archives: Kew, NA Ref: C 1/1123/42
  2. "United Kingdom National Archives Online" [database on-line]. Discovery.Nationalarchives.gov.uk Entry for Gostwicke v Varney, Suit, 1556-1558, Chancery Court (accessed [4-Oct-2021]); citing National Archives: Kew, NA Ref: C 1/1429/45-49
  3. Edwardian Inventories for Bedfordshire, (Alcuin Club Coll., vi), pgs. 25, 30-39. Hathitrust: Eduardian Inventories

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