Gates, John (DNB00)

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GATES, Sir JOHN (1504?–1553), statesman, born about 1504, was the eldest son of Sir Geoffrey Gates (d. 1526) by Elizabeth, daughter of William Clopton (Morant, Essex, ii. 146, 457). Henry VIII made him a gentleman of the privy chamber. In January 1535 he was placed on the committee for Essex and Colchester appointed to inquire into tenths of spiritualities (Letters and Papers of Reign of Henry VIII, ed. Gairdner, viii. 49). He became a justice of the peace for Essex in July 1536 (ib. xi. 85), and in the ensuing October was ordered to accompany the king on the expedition to quell the Lincolnshire rebellion (ib. xi. 233, 261). He was appointed one of three commissioners authorised to sign all documents by stamp in the name and on behalf of the king by patent dated 31 Aug. 1546 (State Papers of Henry VIII, i. 629). In December of the same year Gates, along with Sir R. Southwell and Sir W. Carew, was despatched to Kenninghall, Norfolk, to bring back the Duchess of Richmond [see under Fitzroy, Mary] and Elizabeth Holland, that they might give evidence against the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Surrey. He sent the king a graphic account of his proceedings (ib. i. 888–90). Henry rewarded him by a rich grant of lands and other property, including the college and rectory of Pleshey in Essex. He forthwith demolished the chancel of the church for the sake of making money of the materials, and obliged the parishioners to purchase what was left standing (Morant, ii. 450, 454). He also obtained the under-stewardship and clerkship of Waltham Forest, and the clerkship of the court of Swanmote in the same (State Papers of Henry VIII, i. 896). At the coronation of Edward VI on 20 Feb. 1546–7 Gates was created a knight of the Bath, and took part in the jousts. On 23 June 1550, being then sheriff of Essex, he was ordered to enforce observance of the injunctions issued by Ridley, bishop of London, in regard to the ‘plucking down of superaltaries, altars, and such like ceremonies and abuses.’ In the following month he took measures to prevent the flight of the Princess Mary to Antwerp as contrived by the emperor Charles V. On 8 April 1551 the king made him his vice-chamberlain and captain of the guard, with a seat at the privy council, and gave him land to the value of 120l. In May 1552 he was chosen a commissioner to sell chantry lands and houses for payment of the king's debts; and on the following 4 July was made chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Other favours were at this time conferred on Gates, who had become one of Northumberland's chief creatures, and supported him in promoting the celebrated ‘devise’ of succession in favour of Lady Jane Grey. He accompanied Northumberland in his expedition against Mary in July 1553. On 19 Aug. he was tried before a special commission, pleaded guilty, and was executed three days afterwards. Before he received the sacrament he expressed regret to Edward Courtenay, earl of Devonshire [q. v.], for his long imprisonment, of which he admitted himself in part the cause (Chronicle of Queen Jane, &c., Camd. Soc., p. 20). On the scaffold he warned the people against reading the Bible controversially as he had done. Three strokes of the axe severed his head. His possessions were forfeited to the crown.

[Morant's Essex, i. 323, and elsewhere; Gough's Pleshey; Harl. MS. 284; Chronicle of Queen Jane, &c. (Camd. Soc.); Bayley's Tower of London, App. p. xlix; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80; Literary Remains of King Edward VI, ed. Nichols (Roxburghe Club); Froude's Hist. of England, ch. xxiii. xxx.]

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