Sir William Gascoigne, Lord Chief Justice

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William Gascoigne, Lord Chief Justice

Also Known As: "William Casoigne"
Birthplace: Gawthorpe Hall, Harewood, Yorkshire
Death: Died in Harewood, Yorkshire, England
Place of Burial: Harewood, Yorkshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William Gascoigne, IX and Margaret Agnes Franke
Husband of Elizabeth Gascoigne; Anne Lysley and Johanna Pickering
Father of Sir William Gascoigne, XI, Knight, MP; Agnes Constable; Elizabeth Redman and Agnes Elizabeth Draycote
Brother of Elizabeth Gascoigne; John Gascoigne; Thomas Gascoigne; Anne Gascoigne; Mary Gascoigne and 3 others

Occupation: Knight, Chief Justice of England, Lord Chief Justice, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench until 1413
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sir William Gascoigne, Lord Chief Justice

Sir William Gascoigne (c. 1350 – December 17, 1419) was Chief Justice of England during the reign of King Henry IV. His reputation is that of a great lawyer who in times of doubt and danger asserted the principle that the head of state is subject to law, and that the traditional practice of public officers, or the expressed voice of the nation in parliament, and not the will of the monarch or any part of the legislature, must guide the tribunals of the country.

He was a descendant of an ancient Yorkshire family. The date of his birth is uncertain, and though he is said to have studied at the University of Cambridge his name is not found in any university or college records.[1] It appears from the year-books that he practised as an advocate in the reigns of Edward III and Richard II. When Henry of Lancaster was banished by Richard II, Gascoigne was appointed one of his attorneys, and soon after Henry's accession to the throne was made chief justice of the court of King's Bench. After the suppression of the rising in the north in 1405, Henry eagerly pressed the chief justice to pronounce sentence upon Lord Scrope, the Archbishop of York, and the Earl Marshal Thomas Mowbray, who had been implicated in the revolt. This he absolutely refused to do, asserting the right of the prisoners to be tried by their peers. Although both were later executed, the chief justice had no part in this. It has been doubted whether Gascoigne could have displayed such independence of action without prompt punishment or removal from office.

The popular tale of his committing the Prince of Wales (the future Henry V) to prison must also be regarded as unauthentic, though it is both picturesque and characteristic. It is said that the judge had directed the punishment of one of the prince's riotous companions, and the prince, who was present and enraged at the sentence, struck or grossly insulted the judge. Gascoigne immediately committed him to prison, and gave the prince a dressing-down that caused him to acknowledge the justice of the sentence. The king is said to have approved of the act, but it appears that Gascoigne was removed from his post or resigned soon after the accession of Henry V. He died in 1419, and was buried in All Saints' Church, the parish church of Harewood in Yorkshire. Some biographies of the judge have stated that he died in 1412, but this is disproved by Edward Foss in his Lives of the Judges. Although it is clear that Gascoigne did not hold office long under Henry V, it is not impossible that the scene in the fifth act of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2, (in which Henry V is crowned king, and assures Gascoigne that he shall continue to hold his post), could have some historical basis, and that the judge's resignation shortly thereafter was voluntary.

[edit] References

1.^ Gascoigne, Sir William in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.


William Gascoigne1

b. circa 1335, d. 17 December 1419

Last Edited=17 Aug 2005

    William Gascoigne was born circa 1335 at Gawthorpe, Yorkshire, England.1 He was the son of William Gascoigne and Agnes Franke.1 He married Elizabeth Mowbray, daughter of Alexander Mowbray and Elizabeth Musters.1 He died on 17 December 1419 at Harewood, Yorkshire, England.1

Child of William Gascoigne and Elizabeth Mowbray

   * William Gascoigne+1 b. c 1366, d. 28 Mar 1422


  1. [S125] Richard Glanville-Brown, online <e-mail address>, Richard Glanville-Brown (RR 2, Milton, Ontario, Canada), downloaded 17 August 2005.


This book lists his death as 17 Dec. 1413

Lives of eminent and illustrious Englishmen: from Alfred the Great ..., Volume 1 By George Godfrey Cunningham Pg.361-362



  1. ID: I045802
  2. Name: William Gaskin , X ;[SIR KNIGHT]
  3. Sex: M
  4. ALIA: William /Gascoigne/, X ;[SIR KNIGHT]
  5. Birth: ABT 1333 in Cardington, Bedford, England
  6. Death: 17 DEC 1419 in Harewood, Yorkshire, England

Father: William Gaskin , IX ;[SIR KNIGHT] b: 1293 in Of, Gawthorpe, Yorkshire, England

Mother: Margaret Agnes Franke b: ABT 1312 in Alwoodley, Yorkshire, England

Marriage 1 Elizabeth de Mowbray b: ABT 1340

   * Married: 


  1. William Gaskin , XI ;[SIR KNIGHT] b: ABT 1366 in Prob., Harwood, Yorkshire, England
  2. Anne Or Agnes Gascoigne b: ABT 1389 in Of, Gawthorpe, Yorkshire, England

Marriage 2 Anne Lysley b: ABT 1337 in Gawthorpe, Bishop Wilton, East Riding, Yorkshire, Eng

   * Married: ABT 1352 in Harewood, West Riding, Yorkshire, England


  1. James Gascoigne b: ABT 1353 in Of, Cardington, Bedfordshire, England

Marriage 3 Joan de Pickering b: ABT 1365 in Harewood, West Riding, Yorkshire, England

   * Married: ABT 1389



    Born:  Yorks. abt. 1335    Died:  1419

U.S. President's 10-Great Grandfather. HRH Charles's 17-Great Grandfather. PM Churchill's 17-Great Grandfather. Lady Diana's 16-Great Grandfather. HRH Albert II's 19-Great Grandfather.

Wife/Partner:       Elizabeth (de) MOWBRAY 
Child:       William (Sir; of GAWTHORP) GASCOIGNE
Possible Children:       Agnes GASCOIGNE   ;   William (II; Knight) GASCOIGNE 
Alternative Fathers of Possible Children:       William (VII; Sir) GASCOIGNE   ;   William (Sir; of GAWTHORP) GASCOIGNE

William Gascoigne

b.abt.1335 of Gawthorpe, Yorkshire, England; d/o William and Margaret/Agnes (Franke) Gascoigne

d.Dec. 17, 1419 Harewood, Yorkshire, England

m.Elizabeth Mowbray

b.abt.1340 of Kirklington, Yorkshire, England; d/o Alexander and Elizabeth (Musters) Mowbray

d.abt.1391 of Harewood, Yorkshire, England

CHILDREN included:

William Gascoigne b.abt.1366 d.March 28, 1422

Agnes (Wentworth) Gascoigne b.abt.1389 of Gawthrope Hall, Harewood, Yorkshire, England d.aft.1466

William GASCOIGNE Chief Justice (-1419) [Pedigree]

Son of William GASCOIGNE (-1373) and Agnes FRANKE

      REF YorkshireP. Lord Chief Justice of England.
      Sent Prince Henry (later Henry V) to prison for contempt.
   d. 6 Dec 1419

Married Elizabeth MOWBRAY


Sir William GASCOIGNE Kt. (-1422) m. Joan WYMAN

Elizabeth GASCOIGNE m. John ASKE

References: [YorkshireP],[YorkshireV]


Character in a Shakespeare play

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Sir William Gascoigne, Lord Chief Justice's Timeline

Gawthorpe Hall, Harewood, Yorkshire
Age 10
Age 16
Harewood, Yorkshire, England
Age 35
Age 37
Yorkshire, England
Age 39
Leeds, Yorkshire, UK
Age 46
December 6, 1419
Age 69
Harewood, Yorkshire, England
July 2, 1932
Age 69
July 2, 1932
Age 69