Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gargrave, Thomas

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GARGRAVE, Sir THOMAS (1495–1579), speaker of the House of Commons, and vice-president of the council of the North, son of Thomas Gargrave of Wakefield and Elizabeth, daughter of William Levett of Normanton, Yorkshire, was born in 1495 at a house in the Pear Tree Acres at Wakefield. In 1539 he was one of the learned members of the newly instituted council of the North. In 1547 he accompanied the Earl of Warwick into Scotland, acting as treasurer to the expedition. For these services he received there the honour of knighthood. After his return he purchased a considerable amount of land in Wakefield and its neighbourhood, including Kinsley Hall, where he resided for some years, and eventually the beautiful seat of Nostell Priory. In the first parliament of Edward VI in 1547 he was elected M.P. for the city of York, and again in 1553, and in 1555 was chosen to represent the county. During the reign of Queen Mary he was very active as a member of the council of the North, an arduous post owing to the constant inroads of the Scots and the unpopularity of the home government. On the accession of Elizabeth he was again elected to represent the county, and on 25 Jan. 1558–9 he was chosen speaker of the House of Commons. In this capacity he presented and read an address to the queen, praying her to take a husband. So far did he obtain the confidence of the queen that when the Duke of Norfolk was sent on an expedition to the north he was ordered to take no steps without previously consulting Gargrave. On 17 Jan. 1559–60 he was made vice-president of the council of the North, and from this time he was almost entirely occupied in the duties of this post. He was trusted implicitly by the queen and by Burghley. In January 1568–9, by command of the queen, he assisted Sir Francis Knollys to conduct Mary Queen of Scots from Bolton to Tutbury. Being again chosen vice-president during the presidency of the Earl of Essex, he took an active part in defeating the rebellion of the north under the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland (1569). He held Pontefract Castle and the neighbouring bridges, and was thanked by the queen for his services. In 1570 he entertained Archbishop Grindal on his way to York. In 1574 he continued to act as vice-president under the Earl of Huntingdon. Gargrave's services in the north were very important. He was considered ‘a great stay for the good order of those parts,’ and in his own person was considered ‘active, useful, benevolent, and religious.’ He received from the queen at his request a grant of the Old Park of Wakefield. He died 28 March 1579, and was buried at Wragby. Gargrave was twice married, first to Anne, daughter of William Cotton, by whom he left an only surviving son, Sir Cotton Gargrave; and secondly to Jane, daughter of Roger Appleton, widow of John Wentworth of North Elmsall. A portrait of him, formerly in the possession of Sir Levett Hanson [q. v.] of Normanton, is in the possession of G. Milner-Gibson-Cullum at Hardwicke, Bury St. Edmunds. A similar portrait was said to be in the possession of Viscount Galway at Serlby, Nottinghamshire.

[Cartwright's Chapters in the History of Yorkshire; Hunter's South Yorkshire, ii. 211; Banks's Wakefield and its Neighbourhood; Manning's Lives of the Speakers; Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, i. 226; Calendar State Papers, Dom. Ser., 1539–1574, passim.]

L. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.131
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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436 i 2 Gargrave, Sir Thomas: omit Thomas