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

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GOWER, Sir THOMAS (fl. 1543–1577), marshal of Berwick, was the son of Sir Edward Gower, knight, of Stittenham, Yorkshire, commissioner of the peace for that county in 1536. His mother was Margery, daughter of Sir Robert Constable, knight, of Flamborough. Thomas Gower was marshal of Berwick, and in 1543 was made the receiver-general and supervisor of all the buildings and fortifications of Berwick and of Wark Castle. Early in the reign of Edward VI Gower was appointed surveyor of the royal estates in Northumberland and captain of Eyemouth, near Berwick (1 Sept. 1547). In July he had reported to the council that the ‘Power of Scotland’ was prepared. He was captain of a band of light horsemen in the army with which the protector Somerset invaded Scotland. At the battle of Pinkie Cleugh (10 Sept.) Gower was one of three cavalry officers taken prisoners through ‘their own too much forwardness’ (Holinshed, p. 980).

Gower had to pay a considerable ransom, and ‘as he was a poor man,’ was much burdened by expenses at Eyemouth, and had to appoint a deputy in his office as surveyor. In 1549 he went to London to claim eighteen months' arrears of sums due for Eyemouth, and complained that other services had not been rewarded. Three years later (9 June 1552) 100l. of his debt of 300l. to the crown was remitted by the king through Northumberland's influence. In November 1552 another marshal of Berwick was appointed in Gower's place, and in 1558 he is mentioned as master of the ordinance in the north parts. In 1559 he complained that one Bennett had been appointed over his head, and was apparently replaced, as he held the post in 1560, when he was made master of the ordinance in the army sent to besiege Leith. On his return he continued to be employed in surveying defences. In 1569 the Earl of Sussex sent him to assist the mayor in the fortification of Newcastle. In 1577 he is last mentioned in a letter sent to the council from the Earl of Huntingdon, enclosing a report from him on Kingston-upon-Hull, whither he had been sent to survey the castle and forts. He is spoken of as a ‘man well given in religion, and of good experience.’ By his first wife, Anne, daughter of James Mauleverer, esq., he left a son and successor, Edward.

[State Papers, Domestic, Addenda, 1547–65 and 1566–79, Foreign Ser. 1558–59, 1559–60; Holinshed, pp. 978, 980; Stow's Annals, p. 641; Collins's Peerage, v. 140.]

E. T. B.