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Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Our 15th Great Grandfather, Sir William Gascoigne

William Gascoigne refusing to sentence a prelate or peer
Before Henry IV, Sir William Gascoigne, Chief Justice of England, refuses to sentence death charges of guilt and high treason on Archbishop Scrope and Thomas Mowbray. Illustration by James E. Doyle. 1864. Color lithograph. Located in a private collection.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Everyone!
It’s been one of those days. I woke with a one of those headaches that can’t decide where to settle. First in was in my upper neck then the back of my head. I hit it with two Equate generics of Tylenol. I wasn’t impressed with their performance so after my afternoon field trip I walked home from the school, picked up the Battlestar and drove to Walmart. This time I was willing to pay the big bucks for the real stuff - Excedrin Migraine with the full strength of 65 mg of the good stuff (Caffeine). The headache is in full retreat - mind you, I’m a slightly jittery and a bit giddy but back to my old disagreeable self.

Tonight we are going to learn about our 15th Great Grandfather Sir William Gascoigne. Pull up one of those nice overstuffed recliners and join me near the fire. It gets chilly in the Great Hall.


We will start with the Relationship Chart:

Sir William Gascoigne and Margaret Clarell
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Hugh Hastings and Anne Gascoine
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Bryan Hastings and Anne Portington
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Francis Hastings and Jane Restwold
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Bridget Hastings and Robert Swift
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William Swift and Joan Sisson
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William Swift and Ruth Tobey
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William Swift and Elizabeth Tomson
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Ebenezer Swift and Abigail Gibbs
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Ebenezer Swift and Jedidah Benson
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Judah Swift and ?
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Phineas Swift and Deborah Dearborn
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Elmira Swift and Joseph McCrillis
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Isabel McCrillis and John Mayberry Dennis
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Vesta Dennis and Walter Pierce
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Violet Pierce and Walter Mattson
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Luella Mattson and Charles Williamson
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Us

A Short Biography of Great Grandfather William

Sir William Gascoigne Knight was born 1370 and died 28 Mar 1422. 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. Though he is said to have studied at the University of Cambridge his name is not found in any university or college records.It appears from the year-books that he practiced 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.