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Gee of Bishop Burton

Of all the Gee in all the families, perhaps none is more interesting than HenryL6’s eldest son and heir, Sir WilliamL7 (1562-1611). HenryL6 died in the final year of Elizabeth I’s reign. Her successor, James I, was Scottish. (The United Kingdom dates from that year, 1603, when the kingdoms of Scotland and England were thus united.)

Suddenly Yorkshire, England’s largest county, became much more important. They were near the Scottish border, they understood the Scots.

Due to the remoteness from London and the length of time communications took, there was a need for a dependable man from Yorkshire. William’s son became that man.

He became secretary of the Council of the North and Keeper of the Signet in 1604.

The Council of the North was established around 28 Henry VIII (i.e. 1537) and had a staff of perhaps 25 under a Lord President. By 41 Elizabeth (1599), John Fearne was Secretary. And by 1 James (1599) two men shared the duties of Secretary: Sir John Fearne and Sir Will. Gee.

The power that came with this position brought wealth. He purchased an estate in Bishop Beverley in 1603, possibly near the land his father had purchased. He was knighted in 1604. His is the coat of arms one usually sees when a Gee coat of arms appears.

He married twice. By his first wife Thomasine, daughter of Mathew Hutton, they had one son and two daughters.

Thomasine died in 1599 at age 29. On the family monument in York Minster none of those children were pictured, suggesting that they all died young. His second wife was Hon. Mary Crompton, daughter of one of the queen’s auditors. There were six children by that marriage, the eldest JohnL8 Gee (b. 1603).

Bishop Burton
WilliamL7 purchased the estate of Bishop Burton in the year of his father’s death, possibly using his inheritance. Bishop Burton had belonged to the Bishop of York until it reverted to the Crown in 1542. It went through several owners before William purchased it in 1603. He built a hall, later known as the Low Hall.

William died in 1611 at only age 50. His monument stands in the quire at Yorkminster. He is flanked by his two wives, here is his epitaph from that monument:

Anno Domini MDCXI
Stay, Gentle Passenger, & Reade
A Sentence Sent Thee from the Dead:
If Wisedome, Wealth, Honour or Honesty,
Chastity, Zeale, Faith, Hope or Charity-
If universal Learning, Language, Law,
Pure Piety, Religions reverend Awe,
Firme Freinds, fayre Issue, if a virtuos Wife,
A quiet Conscience, a contented Life,
The Cleargies Prayers, or ye poore Mans Tears
Could have lent Lenght to Mans determind Years-
Sure as the Fate which for our Fault we feare,
Proud Death had nere advancd this Trophe here.
In it behold thy Doom, thy Toombe provide-
Sir William Gee had all these Pleas, yet died.

His descendents married well. JohnL7 married Francis, daughter of Sir John Hotham. (A later Sir John Hotham defied the King at the gates of the city, but that was much later, during the reign of Charles I.) They had only one child, WilliamL8 (b. 1625), before John died prematurely in 1627.

WilliamL8 married first Rachel Parker, and by her had one son, WilliamL9 (b. 1648), before she died in early 1650 at only 18. He then married Mary Spencer, daughter of Sir Richard Spencer, and had two sons and a daughter by her.

Place  Bishop Burton 
Latitude  53.845481 
Longitude  -0.499025 
File name  Beverly Minster.jpg 
File Size  117.11k 
ID  72 
Dimensions  738 x 461 
Linked to  William GEE 

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