GIFFORD, Ralph (by 1504-55/56), of Middle Claydon and Steeple Claydon, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1504, 3rd s. of Roger Gifford, and bro. of George Gifford II. m. by 1537, Mary, da. of Sir Edward Chamberlain of Woodstock Oxon. at least 1s. Roger.1

Offices Held

Subsidy collector, Ashendon hundreds, Bucks. 1525; esquire of the body by 1547; commr. relief, Bucks. 1550.2


Ralph Gifford was living at Middle Claydon when in 1525 he was assessed on goods worth £10 for the subsidy of which he was a collector; his father, a commissioner for this subsidy, was assessed on goods worth £200 During the 153os Gifford was lent £195 by his father and joined in the dispute between his brothers and relatives living at Twyford over the ownership of certain property. His marriage to a daughter of Sir Edward Chamberlain brought him a modest estate, and by the death of his father in 1543 he had settled at Steeple Claydon where his eldest brother John was lessee of the manor from the crown: in that year he was assessed for the subsidy on goods worth £40. In the following year, with two of his brothers, he was mustered to serve with the Buckinghamshire forces for the French campaign. When elected in 1545 as a Member for Buckingham with John Josselyn, Gifford may have already held a post at court; two years later he was to be included in the King’s funeral cortege among the esquires of the body with his brother George, who with official support had been returned for Buckingham in 1536. His own Membership in 1545, and perhaps in one or both of the preceding two Parliaments (for which no returns survive), was perhaps sponsored by George Gifford, who since he had business elsewhere, had asked if he needed to attend the Parliament of 1536, and who afterwards could have been even more fully engaged as a receiver for augmentations. In 1545 Gifford was joined in the House by his brother-in-law Edward Chamberlain II as one of the Members for Heytesbury. Gifford’s connexion with Steeple Claydon became more secure with the death of his brother John in 1547. The leasehold of the manor was then acquired by Sir William Paget, who in the following year granted it with 1,100 acres of land and woodland to Gifford and a neighbour of his at Steeple Claydon. Unlike his brothers George and William he is not known to have rallied to Mary during the succession crisis of 1553. The last glimpse of him comes in April 1555 when he acquired a new lease for 40 years of the manor of Steeple Claydon, and he must have died within the next 18 months as his brother George called him ‘deceased’ in his will made in November 1556.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Bucks. Recs. vii. 494-5; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 178, 180, 235-7; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), v. 38.
  • 2. LC2/2, f. 61v; Bucks. Recs. viii. 31; CPR, 1553, p. 351.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xix; Bucks. Recs. viii. 35; PCC 2 Pynnyng, 49 Alen, 2 Noodes; E179/78/128; CPR, 1547-8, p. 46; 1548-9, p. 91; 1554-5, p. 75; 1557-8, p. 146.