GERARD, William I (by 1530-84), of London and Flambards, Harrow, Mdx.
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Family and Education
A younger son in a cadet branch of the great Lancashire family, William Gerard settled in Middlesex. On 1 June 1551 Thomas Page, then or later his father-in-law, had licence to alienate the manor of Wembley in Harrow to Gerard and Edmund Daye to his own and his heirs’ use, and in the following March Gerard, described as of London, purchased some 160 acres in Harrow from Sir Edward North, the lord of the manor. By then Gerard may already have been in North’s service, although the first account bearing his name as receiver relates to 1552-3. In October 1552 he acted with North in the purchase of a rectory and advowson, and in the same year he and Page acquired the manor of Southall and a number of Essex properties from William Bellamy. It was not until 1573, however, that John Spilman conveyed Flambards or Flamberts in fee-farm to Gerard, although he had probably leased the property earlier.3
His domicile in the south was not to prevent Gerard from sitting for Wigan in three Elizabethan Parliaments. Whether he had already entered the Commons for Preston in October 1553 is less certain, as this may have marked the first appearance there of his cousin and namesake, the future Member for Chester. (Another kinsman, William Gerard of Ince, can be left out of consideration as being only 18 years old at the time.) Either could have benefited from the same influence. They were brother and cousin respectively of Gilbert Gerard, Member for Wigan in this Parliament, who was named with his brother as overseer of the will of William Gerard of Chester, as was (Sir) William Cordell, himself an executor of the will of Lord North. Both could also claim kinship with Sir Thomas Gerard of Bryn, sheriff of Lancashire during the election, and with Sir Thomas Holcroft, duchy receiver for Lancashire and Cheshire. North was no longer a Privy Councillor but he was to be created a baron in 1554 and his influence may have helped procure the return of his servant who seems more likely to have been the Member. Gerard was not marked as standing for the true religion in this Parliament.4
Gerard received grants of wardships in 1558 and 1566 and continued to build up his estate in Essex and Middlesex. He died on 19 Sept. 1584 and was buried, as he had desired, in Harrow church, where a monument was erected.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Mdx. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxv), 19-20; J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 314-16.
- 2. Mdx. RO, accession 76, H 22A; CPR, 1563-6, pp. 332-3; 1569-72, p. 481; E163/14/8, f.23.
- 3. CPR, 1550-3, pp. 69, 332, 418; Mdx. RO, accession 76, H 397B; VCH Mdx. iv. 203, 209.
- 4. PCC 26 Darcy, 7 Morrison.
- 5. CPR, 1557-8, p. 359; 1563-6, pp. 3, 483; PCC 30 Watson; VCH Mdx. iv. 255.