There were two gentlemen named William GILBERT who did service to the Crown in Ireland in the early part of the 17th century. They have, on odd occasions, been confused with one another.
William GILBERT was born in Locko, Parish of Spondon, County Derby, about 1598; he was admitted to Lincoln College, Oxon, 31 May 1616, obtained his B.A. in 1620, and his M.A. from Gloucester Hall in 1623; his father, Thomas GILBERT of Locko, made intercessions, through his cousin John COKE, to the government in Dublin, seeking a post for William as Assistant to the King's Secretary, dated 4 March 1633; granted, by warrant dated at Dublin Castle, 21 November 1637, the Office of Clerk of the Council in the Province of Connaught, and of the keeping of the signet and records for that Province; M.P. for Dublin University, 1639; he died in London, without issue; his will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 25 January 1649-50, naming, among others, his mother Frances, brothers Henry, John and Phillip, sister HACKER, brother-in-law Gilbert COKE, and numerous nephews and nieces. The Arms of this branch of GILBERTs was "Sable, an armed leg, couped at the thigh pale between two broken spears Argent, headed Or."
This is clearly not the same person as Sir William GILBERT of Kilminchy, Queen's County, the subject of this article. But about Sir William, we know very little.
William was probably born around the late 1580's, and according to an entry in the Patent or Close Rolls of 4 March iii Charles 1 (1627-28), was granted land in the Queen's County, "...as a native," and so probably born in Ireland, and quite possibly in the Queen's County. This grant was for 551 acres of arable land and pasture, with 88 acres of bog and wood in the territory of Upper Ossory, and may have been Knockinay, or instead Kilminchy, which he later occupied.
His first mention in Irish affairs was his appointment as Constable of the Fort of Maryborough in 1622; he was appointed one of the Commissioners for Queen's County for the levying of £800 English for use by the Army, July 1627; he was created a Knight in Dublin on 23 October 1629; he was granted the use of certain alienated lands in the Queen's County of Thomas BARRINGTON and others, 6 March 1632; and he was elected M.P. in the Irish Parliament for the constituency of Maryborough, with Sir Walter CROSBIE, 14 July 1634, and again, for the same constituency, with Nicholas WHITE, 16 March 1639.
Sir William was residing at Knockinay, Queen's County, when rebellion broke out in November 1641; he asserted before the Commissioners on 23 January 1641-42 that he had his house "... rifled by 300 men under the charge of Florence FITZPATRICK and lost £500 in stock and goods and £400 a year in rents." His other property was named, in the same evidence, as Cloonin, also in the Queen's County.
In the same year, 1641, Sir William was recorded in the Army, under "New Companies not listed," together with Captains Thomas WELDON and John SAVAGE. By 30 January 1647, he was Captain of a Regiment of Foot in Dublin, along with his Lieutenant, William GILBERT (probably his son), two sergeants, three Corporals, two drummers and 61 soldiers [see the Ormonde MSs].
But, in the meantime, Sir William had been restored to his estates, which he was to be again expelled from in September 1643, by Lord Castlehaven, leader of the Rebel Army, at the exact time that the Cessation of Arms was being signed by ORMOND at Siggisford. But this time it was Kilminchy, which lay north of the Maryborough to Stradbally Road, about a mile away from Dysart, where John PIGOTT (about 1590-1646) resided.
Rolf LOEBER has noted that:
"...by the beginning of the 17th century [Kilminshy] was in the hands of Sir William GILBERT, Governor of Maryborough. A sketch on the Down Survey of the mid 17th century shows an oblong structure, which may have been similar to Garanmaconly Castle in the same county. In 1643, GILBERT was forced to surrender the house to Lord Castlehaven after putting up some resistance. As usual, the soldiers plundered the goods of the castle. When Castlehaven received the message of the cessation, Lady GILBERT and her family re-entered into possession of it and were restored of the goods that were found among the soldiers."
['Warfare and Architecture in County Laois through 17th century eyes,' a chapter in "Laois, History and Society," Edited LANE and NOLAN, Geography Press, Templelogue, Dublin, 1999.]
But Kilminchy was to be attacked again, in September 1646, when it finally fell to the Confederate (or Rebel) Army. It was used as a residence by the Papal Nuncio RINNUCINI after his flight from Kilkenny.
And at the same time as Kilminchy fell, so too did the Fort at Maryborough, and Sir William was the responsible officer who made the surrender. It has been suggested that some deaths were occasioned at the fall of the Fort, including the heir apparent to Dysart, Robert PIGOTT, Sir William's son-in-law.
Sir William GILBERT died in Dublin, and was buried in St John's Church, Dublin, on 8 June 1654. His Funeral Entry, College of Arms, Dublin, records his Arms, those of the GILBERT family of Compton, County Devon - "Argent, on a chevron Sable, three roses of the first."
The Herald's records (subsequently published by BURKE in his "General Armoury," citing the Ulster's Office for authority) show a quartered set of Arms, in which the 2nd and 3rd quarterings are the Arms of CASTILLION and COMPAGNI respectively. These clearly indicate the paternal origins of his wife, Catherine CASTILLION, although the Arms should probably have been impaled, and not quartered, and the Arms of her mother, named PEYTON, seem to have disappeared into thin air. To complicate matters, BURKE even mis-identified the COMPAGNI Arms, citing them incorrectly to have been POYTON, with that mis-spelling.
The Arms of PEYTON of Bury-St-Edmunds, County Suffolk, are identifiably different - "Sable, a cross engrailed Or."
And it is clear from this detail, and as well from research of William Jackson PIGOTT of Dundrum, County Down (he died in 1921) that was published in Notes and Queries, that Sir William was married to Catherine CASTILLION, daughter of Captain Peter CASTILLION (1569-1600; a son of Giovanni Battista CASTIGLIONE - see his separate posting on this blog-site) by Thomasine PEYTON (daughter of Christopher PEYTON, Auditor in Ireland; he died in Dublin in 1612). Thomasine remarried, about 1603, as his second wife, Sir Robert PIGOTT of Dysart; and it was recorded, in her son Peyton CASTILLION's will, that she survived her first husband by between 50 and 60 years.
Sir William's parentage is unknown; but a putative family connection, not uncommon amongst GILBERT family folk-lores, was recorded in a footnote to an article on the finances of the FITZGERALD family of Morett, Queen's County, as follows:
"...the eldest son, Stephen [FITZGERALD], resided at Morett, and married the second daughter of Henry GILBERT, Esq, of Kilminshy in Queen's County (son of Sir William GILBERT, governor of the Fort of Leix, now Maryborough, and great-grandson of the celebrated navigator Sir Humphrey GILBERT, half-brother to Sir Walter RALEIGH."
[Journal of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, 1866, page 535, footnote 33.]
The Arms Sir William was approved to use by the Heralds at his Knighthood in 1629 are identical with the Arms of Sir Humphrey's family.
But the published pedigrees for Sir Humphrey's family do not provide a positive link. His numerous sons by his spouse Anne, only daughter of John AUCHER of Otterden, Kent, are all accounted for as died without issue, apart from Raleigh GILBERT, who appears to have been married too late to include a son of Sir William's age, and what family he did have appear to have been born in England.
Sir Humphrey was born in Compton about 1535 (son of Otho GILBERT, of Compton, and Katharine CHAMPERNOWN, who, as a widow, married 2ndly Walter RALEIGH Senior), and was educated at Eton and Oxford. He served in Ireland on two occasions, and gained a reputation for ruthlessness. His first period was under Lord Deputy SIDNEY, from as early as July 1566, and in Ulster; as a Colonel, in County Cork, he defeated FITZMAURICE at Tracton, September 1569, and obtained CLANCARTY's surrender in December 1569. For his services, he was knighted at Drogheda by SIDNEY on 1 January 1570. He was M.P. for Plymouth, 1571.
After his early ventures in the Queen's name to Newfoundland and the Americas, Sir Humphrey was back in Ireland in July 1578, when he again attacked FITZMAURICE, this time at Smerwicke Harbour, County Kerry. He may have been with the force, which did include his half-brother RALEIGH, as well as the Earl of ORMONDE, and which slaughtered the Spanish-Italian forces there in November 1580.
It has been suggested that Sir Humphrey may have sired an illegitimate son during his first sojourn in Ireland, about 1566-1570, and that that may have been the link to Sir William GILBERT of Kilminchy. I cannot add much to this hypothesis - it is quite feasible, date-wise, at least, and prior to his marriage in 1570 to Ann AUCHER. But the Heralds would perhaps have required the inclusion of the "stick of bastardy" to have been incorporated into his Arms. Such a device does not appear there.
One possible connection did exist.
In 1593 or 1594, William GILBERT, "an Englishman" alternatively recorded as Sir William GUELFORT, was sent by Sir Richard BINGHAM, Governor of Connaught, into battle with Hugh MAGUIRE, Chief of Fermanagh, near Tulsk, Roscommon Barony. MAGUIRE had in his retinue the Catholic Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Edmund MacGAURAN, recently arrived from Spain with a commission from the Spanish King. In the skirmish, MAGUIRE killed GILBERT with a spear, and put his cavalry and foot soldiers to flight; MacGAURAN also died in the affray. Several dates have been speculated for this event - the Four Masters recorded 3 July 1593; the Analecta, 1598; but BINGHAM himself sent a despatch dated 28 June 1593 to the Privy Council, recording details of the event.
This William GILBERT, be-knighted or not, is of an age to have been the father of our William of Kilminshey; and of an age to have been born in Ireland when Sir Humphrey was there.
He may, as an infant, have been raised by his mother, who was probably acquainted with others in BINGHAM's service, among which number were two CASTILLIONs, one of whom was a father to (Sir) William's future wife Catherine.
I have not yet discovered any published pedigrees for the family of Sir William and Catherine GILBERT.
The following speculative pedigree has been assembled using references to Sir William in the pedigrees of the distaff families into which his alleged daughters married. I cannot be certain that all the claims are correct, but they have been included until further research rules them in, or rules them out.
William GILBERT evidently married, and about 1615, Catherine CASTILLION (born about 1594-95, the only surviving daughter of Peter CASTILLION and Thomasin PEYTON, who were married about 26 November 1593); they appear to have had issue:
1. Henry GILBERT, evidently born about 1616 [from his age recorded in his 1644 Deposition]; also of Knockinay in 1641, when he, like his father, claimed losses to the rebels amounting to £300 in value, and rents of £400 in Cloonin; Lieutenant Henry GILBERT, late of Knockinay, made a Deposition on 1 January 1643-44, where his age was recorded as about 28 years, and in which he stated that at the Cessation of Arms (September 1643), his mother, Lady GILBERT, his five sisters and one brother, were forcibly taken prisoner when the Earl of Castlehaven took the house; M.P. for Maryborough, 1644; Esq, of Kilmensey, Barony of Maryborough, "Census" of 1659, with eight English and thirty Irish; he may have died in April 1681; he married, perhaps around 1638-40, Martha PIGOTT (daughter of John PIGOTT of Grangebegg and Dysart, by Martha COLCLOUGH); issue:
a. St Leger GILBERT.
b. Castilliana GILBERT, wife of Charles LAMBART, 4th Earl of Cavan.
c. Martha GILBERT, wife of Stephen FITZGERALD.
d. Ann GILBERT, wife of John TARLETON (Susan GILBERT, in an email dated June 2005, cites T.C.D. MS 1317 as recording this Henry as having married Gertrude ST LEGER, with issue John, William and Catherine).
2. Ann GILBERT; probably born about 1618-20; probably the Mrs PIGOTT at the Castle of Burrowes (Villiers Manor, Borris-in-Ossory), 1641, when Sir William GILBERT sent her a letter, to bolster her resolve in resisting the siege of that castle (the governor of which was her husband Robert PIGOTT) by Florence FITZPATRICK, the rebel Lord of Upper Ossory [see Walter DISHCOME's Deposition, dated 11 April 1642, MS 815, folio 186 recto -187 verso, T.C.D.]; died before 1654; she married about 1638-40, Robert PIGOTT, heir-apparent to Dysart, Queen's County; he was killed at Maryborough in September 1646; issue:
a. Thomas PIGOTT, born about 1640-41; the heir-apparent of Dysart, Queen's County; listed in 1654 as an orphan, when he received a monetary grant, made by Henry CROMWELL; gained livery of the Dysart Estates, about 1662; died 1702; married in Dublin, 1663, Elizabeth WELDON; with issue.
b. another child, gender unknown; listed in 1654 as an orphan, when he/she received a monetary grant, made by Henry CROMWELL.
3. William GILBERT; probably the Lieutenant in his father's Regiment, Dublin, 1647; perhaps Sheriff of Queen's County, 1677, 1678.
4. Catherine GILBERT; married Garret COMERFORD (born about 1611, son of Foulk COMERFORD).
5. John GILBERT of Kilminshy, Esq.; M.P. for Maryborough, 1661; died in 1686.
6. Thomasine GILBERT; married Essex DIGBY (son of Sir Robert DIGBY, M.P. for Athy), Rector of Geashill, King's County, Dean of Cashel, and Bishop of Dromore; issue.
7. Grishild GILBERT; married Francis BARRINGTON (eldest son of Alexander BARRINGTON by his second wife, Margaret BOWEN, daughter of Robert BOWEN of Ballyadams).
8. Hannah GILBERT; died 1666; married firstly, at the Church of St John the Evangelist, Dublin, 3 March 1653, Charles ORMSBY; she married secondly, Edmund DONNELLAN of Cloghan, County Roscommon, with issue.
9. Thomas GILBERT was baptised at Holy Trinity, Cork, 7 October 1645, son of William and Catherine GILBERT [I.G.I]. Despite the right parents, the date seems too late (I speculate that the first seven children were born about 1615-1630), and the location a bit out of territory.
Sir William GILBERT was my great-x-9 grandfather.