Robert Gostwick, Bailiff of Willington for Sir John de Mowbray

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Willington, Bedfordshire, Englandmap
Surnames/tags: le_Despenser de_Mowbray Gostwick
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Gostwick Name Study

Robert Gosewyk, of Willington, Bedfordshire

Bailiff of the Manor and Court of Willington, Bedfordshire, 1382-1392
born abt 1340, Willington, Bedfordshire, England[1]
died abt 1405, Cople, Bedfordshire, England[2]
Language Spoken: French?, Latin?, English

(Notable Profile)



Though we have but a few informative references to Robert, the circumstances of his placement in Willington Court as Bailiff make him at the intersection for much of the politics of the time that shape the coming family in Bedfordshire, and hint at the links to Berwick.

The ties to Hugh le Despenser, and the Mowbray family are key to showing the linkage between the Goswyks of Northumberland and those in Willington. Much of this Robert's profile follows the underpinnings of those links as context for the bigger picture.

I can imagine, Robert retiring from his 10yrs in the position of Bailiff, with the house/farm he purchased in Cople. His son, John is now married, and brewing beer 'constantly' according to his first assizes. Maybe they opened a pub, or Inn?

They were perhaps the lucky generations who escaped the drama of a liege in residence.

1362, Plague Strikes Bedfordshire, Willington Manor, Bedfordshire, England

'Elizabeth (de Mowbray, Lady of the Manor of Willington) replied that one dwelling was pulled down because it was unsafe, another blown down in a gale and cottages pulled down because the tenants had died of plague, presumably in 1361 which was a plague year in Bedfordshire. [3]

(need to re-locate the hallmoot with Elizabeth ruling Willington)

May-1376, Willington Manor, Willington, Bedfordshire, England

Upon the death of Elizabeth de Mowbray of Axholme, the Lordship of Willington went to the King, since son and heir, John De Mowbray had not yet come of age. The King ordered an inquisition into the state and value of Willington.

(to be cited)

abt 1377, Historical Context, Willington Manor, Willington, Bedfordshire, England

Sir John de Mowbray (1365-1382), Lord Mowbray and Segrave; of Willington, Bedfordshire; gained lordship around 1377 when reaching age.

abt 1379, Plague Year, Northern England[3]

In the Northern part of England, there was a great plague in 1379

Marriage & Children

bef 1370, marriage, Willington, Bedfordshire, England[4]

Robert Gostwick to Unknown Unknown

2 children are known from this union:

  1. John Gostwick, b. 1370[5]
  2. Christina Gostwick, b. 1378

1382-1392, Bailiff of Willington, Willington, Bedfordshire, England

For 10yrs, Robert is recorded as Bailiff of Willington, until 20-Aug-1392, when he was succeeded by William Pecke. [Peake]. 10yrs later his daughter would marry a John Peake.

(See Research Notes regarding referenced but missing documents related)

Benefits of Bailiff:
Including, arrears, rents assessed for free tenants, rents in kind, rents of half-virgates, rents of acremen and cottars, rent in Bereford, rents with proceeds of the manor, sale of wood and underwood, sheriff’s aid, perquisites of court, customary payments, steward’s expenses, wages with stipends, annuity and money payments.

Robert Gostwick - Bailiff of Willington
1382[6] - 1383[6] - 1384[7] - 1385[8] - 1386[9] - 1387[10] - 1388[11] - 1389[12] - 1390 - 1391 - 1392[13]
In 1394, William Ryder was Bailiff of Willington (See BedCat R8/62/2/10)

1383, Willington Manor, Willington, Bedfordshire, England

John de Mowbray died in 1383, and was succeeded by his brother Thomas de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. It's likely the Gostwicks held the manor in lieu a the Lord in residence

1-Jul-1393, Property, Cople, Bedfordshire, England[5]

Robert Gostwyk' of Wylyton' and John, his son, (purchase) 10 acres of land and 3 roods of meadow in Cowpull', from Hugh Felowe & his wife Margaret for 100s silver.

abt 1399, Historical Context, Willington, Bedfordshire, England

Thomas de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, Lord of Willington, was banished by Richard II shortly before the king's murder in 1399. Thomas de Mowbray died shortly afterwards

Research Notes

Finberg's GOW discusses Robert on pg 53, without many citations.[14]

Pre-1500 evidenciary logic

Re: Birth date
In 1382 he was Bailiff, a position not given when 'under age' (17-21), making him born before 1364. (1382-18=b. bef1364)
His son, named and 'of age' to own property, in 1393 (1393-18=b bef1375) indicates that biologically, Robert cant be born after 1359, or we get into generation compression outside the normal statistics. (1375-16=b. bef1359)
His birth date is placed abt 1340, but could be expressed as between (1320-1358)
>> His father's logical evidence needs to be factored in for his birth date. Revisit after he is documented.

Re: Birth location
Birth location is tied to parentage. Should parentage be doubted, so doubt the children's birth locations. Gostwick property holdings and status in Willington supports the reason to stay, not leave; though a dramatic change in Liege in residence would be a strong influencer.

Re: Marriage date
An early, undocumented marriage date, expressed as 'abt', is almost always based on the idea that it occurred about a year before the first known children are born. When you mess with those dates, you should adjust the marriage date accordingly. In Robert's case, I wasnt confident to use ABT so chose BEF 1370. Statistically, it is much more likely that he married between 'of age' and an inheritance coming into play (his father's death date). For Robert, it's possible his father lived past his marriage, so what else was going on?
  • in 1361, the Juvenile Plague was wiping out children across England. This was also called 'Pestis Segunda'. [3]
  • In 1369, the 'Pestis Tertia' struck, not as focused on children but in broad effect. [3]
So the lack of children as evidence from say 1361, when Robert was 21yrs old, until the time we find John & Christina being expected
If we were placing a bet, I like 1370. If it wasnt allowed, Id pick 1361, and feel awful about the babies that probably died. ~Chris

Re: Marriage location
Robert as Bailiff was anchored to Willington Manor, but those years before that? I propose that Bailiff was a position where the person selected was met several criterion.
  • Of the family or 'class' that was acceptable for the role
  • Bailiff broke up fights and such, so needed to be known by everyone in town, and generally respected as fair to be re-selected for 10yrs running.
Perhaps they wed at one of the religious institutions nearby, but I pick Willington based on statistical evidence recorded for lots of weddings at Willington in that era, fewer say at the Piory.

Re: Death date
Robert lived at least until 1-Jul-1393, when he bought his Cople farm. H.P. Finberg uses a death date of 1405, cited in 'Gostwicks of Willington' pg 53. No reason to think he dropped dead the day he bought the 'farm' Hehe.

Re: Death location
Buying his farm in 1393, after retirement as Bailiff, suggest he was settled and would finish off his life in Cople. No evidence suggests otherwise.

Re: Parentage
When parentage is by secondary reference + logic, you have to cite everything.
(from above) I propose that Bailiff was a position where the person selected was met several criterion.
  • Of the family or 'class' that was acceptable for the role
  • Bailiff broke up fights and such, and levied and collected taxes. So needed to be known by everyone in town, and their family would be generally respected as fair, a local.
  • There is only a single known Gostwick old enough to be Robert's father, from Bedfordshire, making Robert grow up at Willington - Roger.
>> Revisit parentage logic after finishing Roger's page

Re: Offspring
John, is named as the son of Robert in the 1393 citation

Re: Halmoot rolls at Bedfordshire Archive Service Catalog

There is a record missing, but implied in the index series. R8/62/2/7 extant, R8/62/2/8 missing, R8/62/2/9 extant. These represent the Bailiff's accounts, as held in the 'Search Room sub-series'; I propose they are 1390-1391 Halmoot records for the Bailiff accounts, also implied but missing


  1. Evidentiary Logic: See 'Re: Birth Date (below Research Notes)
  2. Evidentiary Logic: See 'Re: Death Date (below Research Notes)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "A History of Epidemics in Britain, from A.D. 664 to the extinction of the Plague", Charles Creighton M.A. M.D., Cambridge at the University Press, 1891, History of Epidemics in Britain, Ch. 4 pg. 218 (accessed [25-Aug-2021]); Ref:42686-h
  4. Evidentiary Logic: See 'Re: Marriage Date (below Research Notes)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Pedes Finium - Feet of Fines Assize Rolls: Richard II (1377-1399)", [database on-line], Feet of Fines, Ref: CP 25/1/6/71, number 17
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Bedfordshire Archive Catalog Service (BEDCAT)" [database on-line]. Entry for Robert Gostwick, 29 Sep 1382, (2yrs) Hallmoot (accessed [13-Oct-2021]); ref: R8/62/2/1
  7. "Bedfordshire Archive Catalog Service (BEDCAT)" [database on-line]. Entry for Robert Gostwick, 29 Sep 1384, Hallmoot (accessed [13-Oct-2021]); ref: R8/62/2/2
  8. "Bedfordshire Archive Catalog Service (BEDCAT)" [database on-line]. Entry for Robert Gostwick, 29 Sep 1385, Hallmoot (accessed [13-Oct-2021]); ref: R8/62/2/3
  9. "Bedfordshire Archive Catalog Service (BEDCAT)" [database on-line]. Entry for Robert Gostwick, 29 Sep 1386, Hallmoot (accessed [13-Oct-2021]); ref: R8/62/2/4
  10. "Bedfordshire Archive Catalog Service (BEDCAT)" [database on-line]. Entry for Robert Gostwick, 29 Sep 1387, Hallmoot (accessed [13-Oct-2021]); ref: R8/62/2/5
  11. "Bedfordshire Archive Catalog Service (BEDCAT)" [database on-line]. Entry for Robert Gostwick, 29 Sep 1388, Hallmoot (accessed [13-Oct-2021]); ref: R8/62/2/6
  12. "Bedfordshire Archive Catalog Service (BEDCAT)" [database on-line]. Entry for Robert Gostwick, 29 Sep 1389, Hallmoot (accessed [13-Oct-2021]); ref: R8/62/2/7
  13. "Bedfordshire Archive Catalog Service (BEDCAT)" [database on-line]. Entry for Robert Gostwick, 29 Sep 1392, Hallmoot (accessed [13-Oct-2021]); ref: R8/62/2/9
  14. "The Gostwicks of Willington", Herbert P. R. Finberg, Bedfordshire Historical Record Society. Vol. XXXVI, 1955. The publications of the Bedfordshire Historical Record Society. Streatley, Beds: Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, pg 53.

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