Sir William Goring (1500 - 1554)

by Caroline Adams

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William may have been re-elected with Gage for Sussex in either or both of the last two Parliaments of Henry VIII's reign, in 1542 and 1545, but the loss of the returns makes this uncertain.[1] In 1543 he served with the military expedition against France and a year later he accompanied the King on the campaign which ended in the capture of Boulogne. Locally he was building up his estates. In 1544 he bought property in Broadwater, from Edward Sherley.[2] Four years later he was considered wealthy and trusted enough to supply light horses and demi-lances, for the use of the Crown.[3]

He was still with Anne of Cleves in August 1546[4], but sometime around the death of Henry VIII, he left her service and became a gentleman of the privy chamber. At the accession of Edward VI he was given charge of some of the Howard property in Sussex before it was granted to Admiral Seymour. With Seymour he seems to have stood well, as his responsibility for these properties was renewed by the admiral, who also gave him other charges and leases in the county. He managed to remain in favour when Seymour was executed for treason, and was one of the surveyors of the disgraced Lord Seymour's house at Chesworth, and his ordnance and iron kept there and at Sheffield Park – both in west Sussex.[5]

His third shrievalty showed that he was trusted by the new government headed by the Duke of Northumberland. After the dissolution of the Parliament of 1547 he was granted, perhaps as a mark of Northumberland's favour, the reversion of the wo manors of Nyetimber and Balneath in Sussex held by Anne of Cleves[6]; in his will he states:

'Also I geve unto the saide henrie Goringe my lease and terme of yeres of and in the maner of Balnethe and Nitimber yeldinge the rente accustomed unto the Ladie Anne of Cleave'[7]

This meant that he was entitled to the rents and perquisites of the two manors during the lifetime of Anne of Cleves.

In 1549, William Goring was well established as a local JP. He may not have been well-liked; that year, the Earl of Arundel wrote to Sir William Petre that:

'these parts remain as well as may be in a quavering quiet. The honest promise to serve the king; the rest, I trust, will follow if the devices shall be shortly used. I hear Sir William Goring is out for the commission of oyer and terminer. He is not famous for the administration of justice'.[8]

In March 1553, he was ordered by the Privy Council to inquire into sedition at Chichester, he was no longer an MP. Goring may have put his loyalties to the government before those of his neighbours; not unusual, but it would mean he would find working locally difficult.

William Goring made his will in 1553. He asked to be buried in the parish church at Burton, where he had made his home, but he owned property in Carshalton, Barlavington, Woolavington besides his family property, 250 sheep and several horses. He divided his property, chattels and livestock between his wife, children and grandchildren. He also left to his wife all the plate given to him by Anne of Cleves and Edward VI and to his eldest son Henry the rich clothes presented by the King. After remembering his servants he appointed his son Henry executor and Thomas, 9th Lord La Warr, Sir John Kingsmill, John Covert, Edward Shelley and his own son George Goring as supervisors.



[1] HoP

[2] 'Broadwater.' A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 1, Bramber Rape (Southern Part). Ed. T P Hudson. London: Victoria County History, 1980. 66-81. British History Online. Web. 5 March 2015. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol6/pt1/pp66-81

[3] SP 10/5 f.55 July 1548

[4] Acts of the Privy Council, vol. VII for Henry VIII, no.676

[5] SP 10/6 ff.5 and 12 20 Jan 1549

[6] HoP

[7] PROB 11/37/507

[8] SP 10/7 f.116: CSP, Domestic: no. 292 June 29 1549. Henry [Fitz Alan], earl of Arundel to Sir William Petre

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