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The family originated at Goxhill, in north Lincolnshire (3 miles south of the Humber) and mentioned in the Domesday Survey. Burstwick Manor, referred to against Sir Walter, is in the East Riding of Yorkshire (5 miles north of the Humber).
[GOWS421] Ernerus de Goxhall (born c.1033) married Felicia de Ytorlik. In the Domesday Survey (1086) land held by Erneis de Buron includes land in Goxhill, worked by "Wulfric, Ernei's man".
[GOWS431] Giles de Goushill (born c.1060) married Jasmine de Canaan.
[GOWS441] Piers de Goushill (born c.1083) married --- de Brienne.
[GOWS451] Erneis Goushill (born c.1115) married Alianore de Arncliffe. Note again, reference to Erneis. Perhaps named for his great-grandfather who could have lived into the 12th Century, by then age 67.
[GOWS461] Robert FitzErneis Gousel (born c.1135, son of Erneis), of Flintham (Notts), suggesting he held Flintham Manor. Robert died before 1203.
[GOWS471] Ralph de Gousel (born at Goxhill, Lincs, c.1175). He paid a fee for Flintham Manor, in Deincourt barony, (1235-36). He married 1.Emerina d'Oyry; then 2. [HOVE472] Matilda de Hoveringham (daughter of Hugh III, see HOVERINGHAM). He died 16th March 1240-41.
[GOWS481] Walter I de Gousel (born at Hoveringham, c.1200, son of Ralph & Matilda, & heir) married [HEVE472] Matilda (born c.1200, daughter of [HEVE461] Matthew I de Hathersage, see HAVERSAGE). Walter died c.1257 and Matilda died 22nd September 1263.
[GOWS491] John de Gousel (born at Hoveringham, c.1241), married Agnes. He eventually (c.1259) acquired extensive lands previously held by Sir Matthew II de Hathersage. He died 1268.
[GOWS501] Sir Walter II de Gousel (born at Hoveringham, c.1265, 2nd son and eventual heir of John) married 1. Margaret (probably daughter of Sir Lambert of Threekingham, Lincs); then 2. Lucy, then 3. Margery.
Larger than life stone effigies of Lambert de Trikingham, and his wife (thought to be of the de Spayne family), who died c.1310 are to be found in St. Peter's Church, Threekingham (Lincs). A Lambert de Trikingham was Master of Sherburn Hospital, (Co. Durham), 1313, who may be connected. Also a Lambert de Trikingham was noted as being a justice (1296 and 1312).
Sir Walter was overlord of Screveton, Notts, (1293), and Sheriff of Notts (1297). He was ordered (1301) to lead 1,000 foot soldiers from Notts to Berwick against the Scots. He was lord of Barlborough, Derbys, and held Kniveton [Derbys]; East Bridgford, Hawksworth, Flintham, Thurgarton, Horspol, Hoveringham, Goreston and Rolleston, Notts, (1316). He was also Bailiff of Burstwick Manor [East Yorks] (1316). At the time of his death (2nd October 1326) he held messuages at Hoveringham, Flintham, Kniveton, and Radcliffe-on-Trent, jointly with his wife Margery, who survived him. He also held the Barlborough Manor, Derbys, and various other pieces of land in that county, including a moeity of a water mill at Killamarsh, park at Whitwell and messuages at Creswell.
[GOWS511] Sir Thomas de Gousel (born at Hoveringham, c.1289, son of Walter & Margaret), married Agnes. A writ (1374) noted that Thomas and his [present] wife Agnes had together held the moiety of Killamarsh Manor and a two-thirds share of Barlborough Manor, both Derbys. This writ also noted that Thomas had died in 1370-71; and also noted that his son and heir Sir Nicholas was now age 60 and more. (The reason for the issue of the writ in 1374 may have been that Agnes had just died, four years after Thomas.)
[GOWS521] Sir Nicholas I de Gousel (born c. 1311, son and heir), held Hoveringham Manor of William Deyncourt the elder, (recorded 1364). Nicholas allegedly married [NOTT522] Joan.(daughter of Richard de Nottingham, see NOTTINGHAM).
Sir Nicholas Goushall the elder and Robert his son were arrested to appear in Chancery at Easter 1386 (after having previously failed to appear in obedience to the King's writ), on a charge of threatening with loss of life and limb a certain William Birkes, so much that he dare not go about his business. In June 1386 a pardon was granted "to Nicholas Goushill knight the elder for all felonies, trespasses and misprisions except treasons, murders and rapes and any consequent outlawries."
Sir Nicholas died 18th January 1392-93. It was recorded in 1403 that long before his death he had given all his lands in Killamarsh by charter to Henry Shirley, parson of Barlborough.
Sir Nicholas was buried at Hoveringham. According to "The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire" by Thoroton, vol. 1, published 1797, there was at Hoveringham church:
... a plain stone in the south aisle ...
Nicolaus de Gozill, miles, filius Thomae de Gousell militis, qui obitt mortem die S. Priscae Virginis, Anno Dom. 1393
[it was also noted that St. Prisca the Virgin's day was 18th January]
... upon the wall is painted ...
Here lyeth the body of Sir Nicholas Goushill son of Sir Thomas Gozill, which Sir Nicolas died in the year 1393
This stone, alas, was lost when Hoveringham church was rebuilt in 1865.
Nicholas II de Gousel (1st son of Nicholas I). The Thurgarton Cartulary suggests "Nicholas I appears to have been succeeded by Nicholas II de Gousel but this is not clear". Nicholas II is said to have died some time after 1422. He appears to have been the older brother of Robert, which, if correct, it means he outlived his younger brother Robert by around 20 years.
[GOWS532] Sir Robert Gowsell (born c.1362, at Hoveringham, probably 2nd son of Nicholas I, and possibly by a later marriage), married (1401) [ARU2532] Elizabeth de Arundel [born c.1360], Countess of Nottingham and DUCHESS OF NORFOLK, Lady of the Garter (1386), see ARUNDEL (FITZALAN) EARLDOM). Elizabeth had previously married 1. (before December 1378) William de Montagu (who was killed, it is said, in a tilting match at Windsor); then 2. (July 1384) Sir Thomas Mowbray. Through this marriage Robert acquired, plus her dowry, the heraldic quarterings of the baronial and princely houses of Peverell, Albany, Mechines, Lupus, Plantagenet, Warren, Marshall, De Clare, Macmurrough, and Pargiter.
Sir Thomas Mowbray was invested Knight of the Garter (1383), became 1st DUKE OF NORFOLK (1397), see NORFOLK (MOWBRAY) DUKEDOM. Thomas was banished by King Richard II from England for life (16ty September 1398), but died of the plague in Venice (23rd September 1399). He was buried in Venice, almost certainly on the Island of St. George, at the abbey there which was a religious and cultural centre.
George's Church, Venice
formerly a Benedictine Abbey
(22 July 1982)
King Henry IV usurped the throne from King Richard II (1399), and in his first Parliament (October 1399) he annulled the creation of the Norfolk Dukedom (in addition to repealing all that was done in Richard's Parliament of 1397-98). Note however, this annulment was made after the death of its first Duke, and Elizabeth remained DUCHESS. Elizabeth was a first-cousin of King Henry IV's later wife (Mary) which may have persuaded Henry to be more lenient.
During 1400 King Henry IV assigned to Elizabeth the dower [viz life interest of her husband's estate] of a great numbers of manors in the counties of Beds, Bucks, Cambs, Derbys, Essex, Hunts, Leics, Lincs, Norfolk, Northants, Notts, Rutland, Salop and the adjacent Welsh marches, Suffolk, Sussex, Warks, and also the Hundred of Loose, the borough of Bungay, and the castle at Framlingham.
In 1401 Elizabeth married "Robert Gousille Esquire" without licence from King Henry IV. Thus in the Close Rolls (September 1401) "... lately learning that without licence she was married to the said Robert, the King ordered the escheators to take the land again into his hand ... [subject to] a fine of 2,000 marks [about £1,333] payable for restitution," and Writs were issued to all the escheators of the above mentioned counties. The fine was paid promptly. Robert then held the manors of his wife "in her right as her dower of the lands of Thomas duke of Norfolk sometime her husband".
Robert remained in favour with the king, and was wounded fighting on his behalf at the Battle of Shrewsbury (20th July 1403). About this time King Henry IV knighted Robert, perhaps immediately after the battle. Shortly afterwards, Robert was treacherously stabbed to death by his servant, and he apparently died the following day (21st July). He was survived by his wife Elizabeth and two daughters, Joan age 2 and Elizabeth age 1.
At the ensuing Inquisitions Post Mortem, Robert was recorded as having enormous lands "held in the dower of Elizabeth his wife, from the lands of Thomas duke of Norfolk, her former husband". The Court Rolls (November 1403) refer to "Elizabeth late the wife of Robert Goushille Knight" and mention that the king had learned of Robert's death. Afterwards Elizabeth married 4. (before July 1414) Sir Gerard Usflete. The Cal. Patent Rolls (July 1414) refer to "Gerard Usflete and Elizabeth, duchess of Norfolk, his wife". She is also referred to later as "duchess of Norfolk" in the Fine Rolls (1416), so despite the dukedom having been annulled by Henry IV (1399), she retained her title.
Elizabeth died July 1425, and she and her 3rd husband Robert were presumably buried at Hoveringham. Near Nicolaus de Gozill's stone was Sir Robert's tomb:
By the stone there is a fair tomb for Sir Robert Gousell, and the dutchess of Norfolk his lady, upon which are their statues, as by the coronet on the head of hers is supposed. Under his head lyeth the figure of a blackamores head [blackamoor = a Negro or other person with dark skin] crowned, and part of the body, with a wreath about his neck. About the tomb were the arms of Leek, Langford, Babington, Chaworth impaling Caltofts, Rempstons, and divers others which were worn out in Mr. St. Lo. Knivetons v. time, who notes sir Robert Gousell and the dutchess were married 2 H. 4. [The Regnal year 2.Hen.IV spanned 30th September 1400 to 29th September 1401]
Hoveringham church was rebuilt in the nineteenth century (1865), and Sir Robert's tomb was installed in the new church against the west wall, with however part of Elizabeth's right lower leg cut away to clear a niche in the wall
Elizabeth and Robert
[GOWS542] Elizabeth Gowsell (born c. 1402, daughter of Sir Robert) married [WING542] Sir Robert Wingfield (see WINGFIELD).