Which Henry Gilbourne was Colonel Henry?

Lenthall in the Visitation of Berkshire The visitation of Berkshire, shown right, indicates Elizabeth Aspin to be the married name (second marriage) of Colonel Henry’s granddaughter from his son Thomas,although there is clearly some confusion around the entry of both Colonel Henry, and his son, also Henry. This relationship conflicts with the following account indicating Elizabeth Aspin is Col. Henry’s sister, and also that Col. Henry died unmarried:

During the latter half of the seventeenth century the history of Mr. Martin's property is uncertain, but there are some grounds for surmising it to have belonged to Henry Gilbourn, Esq., Lord of the Manor of Woolwich, and grandson of Sir Nicholas Gilbourne of Charing. His kinsman, George Gilbourn of Shoreham, is known to have owned lands in this parish about the same time. The name of Henry Gilbourn regularly appears for some years as Justice of the peace before whom affidavits of burials in woolen were made in our Parish Register; and both he and his son are described in the Register of Admons. on the Prerogative Court of Canterbury as "of Chiselhurst." He died in 1682, intestate, and his son, Colonel Gilbourn, who succeeded him as local Justice, survived him for barely a year. He also died intestate, and unmarried, and letters of administration were therefore granted to his sister and heiress, Elizabeth Aspin.

Source: History of Chislehurst, its church, manors and parish, E.A. Webb, G.W. Miller & J. Beckwith, George Allen, London, 1899

Hasted gives a slightly different account, stating the estate was sold by Elizabeth Aspin’s FIRST husband, St. Leger Scroop, while Elizabeth is described only as 'a descendant' of Sir Nicholas.:

The manor of Southall, alias Woolwich, was purchased of the Boughtons by the Heywoods or Haywoods, as their name was afterwards spelt (not Heydons). Sir Edward Boughton sold it in 1555, to Richard Haywoode, whose descendant, Christopher Haywoode, in 1580, alienated it to Richard Patrick; soon after which it was sold to Sir Nicholas Gilbourne; his descendant, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas Gilbourne, married St. Leger Scroope esq. who sold this manor, in 1692, to Richard Bowater the elder, and Richard Bowater the younger. It is now the property of John Bowater, esq. and the manor house is in the occupation of his brother, Capt. Edward Bowater.

Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Vol. 2.

A fourth account differs yet again:

Christopher Heywood, son and heir to Richard Heywood conveyed one third of the [Woolwich] estate in Jan 1573 to Richard Patrick, who together, the latter on 1 July 1578 and the former on 20 Aug 1580, conveyed all their interests in the Manor of Woolwich to William Gilborne, citizen, draper of London. Sir Nicholas Gilborne of Charing, Kent, his son, was seized in 1590 of a mansion house in Woolwich called Woolwich Hall, which stood on the site of the present Red Barracks, of divers orchards, houses etc. adjacent with the chattels remaining in the house; all of which he let on 20 Nov 1590 to Francis Needham for 21 years. He settled the Manor of Woolwich on Henry Gilborne, his son, who died without issue. From him it descended to his niece Elizabeth, daughter and heir of his brother Thomas Gilborne of Woolwich. She married St. Leger Scroop of Louth, Co. Lincoln, who died in financial difficulties. An act of parliaments was therefore obtained in 1690 to vest her inheritance in trustees, under which certain lands were to be sold to pay her late husbands debts. Mrs. Elizabeth Scroop was released from her undertakings under this act by certain payments made from the private fortune of her second husband. The trustees under the act (Dr.William Graham, Dean of Carlisle; John Harvey, of Thurley, Beds.) sold the manor to Richard Bowater, mercer, of London, and his son Richard, for £11,800 and a nominal 5/- each to Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Aspin.

Hogg, Brigadier O.F.G., The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich (Vol 1 p.127). Oxford University Press 1963


If the History of Chislehurst is correct, and there were two Henry Gilbournes who were Lords of the Manor of Woolwich then it is clear that the Visitation of Berks has confounded Col Henry and his father. The crossing out of his wife’s name as Anne, and replacing it with Elizabeth clearly indicates that Elizabeth Lenthall and Anne Polhill/Gilbourne have been confused. Also the crossing out of ‘only’ alongside the name of the Henry married to Mary Beveridge, is incorrect. As far as is known, the Henry who married Mary Beveridge is the only child of Col. Henry Gilbourne and Anne Gilbourne. No baptism has been found, but he is clearly identified in the will of William Gilbourne’of Shoreham. All the other children of Col Henry shown in the visitation are in fact his siblings - children of Henry Gilbourne and Elizabeth Lenthall.

The will of William Gilbourne of Shoreham adds one further surprise. He states "Item I give and bequeath unto my Brother-in-Law Collonell Henry Gilbourne and to my Sister Anne Gilbourne his wife Fforty shillings a piece. And I give to his Son my Nephew Henry Gilbourne and to his wife twenty shillings a piece. Item I give and Bequeath unto my Godson Henry Gilbourne the Son of my said Nephew Henry Gilbourne the Sume of ffive pounds of lawfull English money" - so that Henry Gilbourne and Mary Beveridge must have also had a son, though only three daughters are shown in the Visitation. The Orpington registers confirm that a son named Henry was born in 1682, shortly before the will was written, but that he died there in 1684 [Source: Familysearch.org.]

QUESTION: If Col. Henry Gilbourne had living descendants, and his granddaughter Hester did not die until 1712, her husband, John Brownsmith not until 1724, how did the Manor of Woolwich come to be in the hands of Elizabeth Scroop/Aspin?

That she did is clear. One thing all authors agree on is that the Monor was sold to pay the debts of St. Leger Scroop, and Parliamentary records include the passing of the bill necessary to authorise the sale:

House of Lords Journal Volume 14: 13 November 1690
Scroope's Bill.
Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, "An Act for vesting divers Lands in Trustees, to be sold, for the Payment of certain Debts of St. Leger Scroop Esquire, deceased."
The Question was put, "Whether this Bill shall pass into a Law?"
It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

27 Nov 1690. Journal of the House of Commons:
Scroop 's Estate.
An ingrossed Bill from the Lords, intituled, An Act for vesting divers Lands in Trustees, to be sold for Payment of certain Debts of St. Leger Scroop, Esquire, deceased, was read the Second time.

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