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Robert Gilbert

before 1450 - after 1499

Father Robert Gilbert
Mother Alice Cooper
Wife Joan Statham
Children Robert

Robert was probably sometime before 1450 (1), in Youlgreave (2), the son of Robert and Alice (3)(4)(5).

He was born into a landed family, and was a "free tenant" in Youlgreave (14). He also appears to have done his part to try to increase the family's holdings, acquiring lands as far afield as Dronfield (7)(8). In 1481 he was witness to a charter concerning land in Castleton (15). He married Joan Statham of Horsley (3)(4)(5), and they had seventeen children - seven sons and ten daughters (4)(12), although its likely that the majority of these died young. Indeed the only one that is known to have certainly survived is his heir Robert, although two others may possibly have been William and Richard (13).

His wife died in 1492, and he built a screen in Youlgreave church, to create a small chapel in her memory. He also commissioned an impressive memorial (4)(12). Robert was still alive in 1499 (when his son was referred to as "Robert junior" (11)), but probably died not too long afterwards.

Brief details of his children:


  1. Estimated simply from the fact that the earliest mention of him found is as the witness to a grant in 1472 (06), when he must have been at least 21. He could have been considerably older of course. Indeed his wife's parents' estimated date of marriage around 1440, places her birth anytime after then. It is reasonable to expect that Robert was at least as old as his wife, so his date of birth was probably somewhere between the mid 1430s and 1450
  2. His family was said to be "of Youlgreave", but this could possibly mean within the wider parish, rather than Youlgreave township itself, as there are documents concerning lands in other parts of the parish such as Stanton (6)(9) & Birchover (10).
  3. Pedigree of the Gilbert family of Yolgreave in the visitations of 1569 and 1611 (as published in "The Genealogist (New Series)" Volumes 7 & 8).
  4. "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire", by J Charles Cox, 1875, Volume 2, pages 329-330, within the chapter on Youlgreave church, contains the following:
    Against the east end of the north aisle is a remarkable monument, which previous to the restoration was in the chancel; at an earlier date it was against the south wall of the south aisle, as descibed by Bassano; but it was originally designed (as we believe) to form a memorial reredos at the back of the chantry altar of the Lady Chapel in the latter aisle. This mural has twenty-one small figures carved in relief in alabaster. In the centre is the Blessed Virgin crowned, with the Child in her arms. To her right kneels a man with his seven sons behind him, to her left kneels the wife with their ten daughters behind her. Round the margin is the following inscription in rather illegible black letter :-
    "Hic jacet sub lapede corp' Roberti Gylbert de Yolgreff generosi, et Johe cosortis sue, que Joha obiit, iie die Novembris Ao dni MCCCCLXXXXII, qui quid' Robert clausura hujus capelle fieri fecit in Ao [superadict], et idem Robert' obit."
    The word in brackets is now missing, a piece of the marble having been cut out, but we have supplied it from the copy of the inscription taken by Bassano. The date of the death of Robert was never recorded. The meaning of the latter part of the inscription is, that Robert Gilbert erected in 1492, a screen, or parclose, round the east end of the south aisle, so as to form a chapel. Below the figures are three shields, (1) Statham (gu, a pale fusilly, arg, with a crescent for difference); (2) Statham impaling Rossington (arg a fesse between three crescents, gu); and (3) Rossington.
    The first of the Gilberts, of Youlgreave, mentioned in the Visitation pedigrees, is Robert Kniveton alias Gilbert, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Maple, of Mapleton. His son, Nicholas Gilbert, married Margaret, daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Rossington ... . Their eldest son and heir was Robert Gilbert, who, by his wife Alice, daughter of Nicholas Cooper, had issue Robert, commemorated by this monument. This Robert Gilbert married Joan, daughter of John Statham, of Horsley. The Gilberts, of Youlgreave, whose own arms were - gu, a bend vaire, arg and sab, seem to have for the most part adopted the arms of Rossington, as the more honourable family, after their alliance with that heiress. It should also be noted that a careless blunder of the original sculptor has reversed the arms on the monument, and has made Statham impale Rossington (i.e. Gilbert), instead of vice versa. Of the various children here depicted, we are only able to give the name of the eldest son and heir - Robert Gilbert, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Columbell, of Darley.*
    * For pedigree of Gilbert, alias Kniveton, see Egerton MSS 966 f28; Harl MSS 1537 f76. The Gilbert who married the heiress of Rossington is named Nicholas in the Harl MSS 1537, 6592, 2134, 886, and elsewhere, but he is named Richard in Egerton and Add MSS. We suppose that the Knivetons of Youlgreave, originally sprang from the Knivetons, of Kniveton, and changed their name to Gilbert through alliance with an heiress of that family. But younger branches of the Knivetons of Youlgreave, retained their patronymic. The Youlgreave registers contain various entries of Kniveton, both in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
  5. Pedigree of the Kniveton alias Gilbert family, of Youlgreave, from the papers of Benjamin Bagshaw, antiquarian. Sheffield Archives reference Bag C/3361B
  6. "Descriptive Catalogue of Derbyshire Charters" by Isaac Herbert Jeayes, 1906, includes a precis of charter No 2233 which reads:
    Grant from John Steverdale, son and heir of William Steverdale, to Richard Vernon esq, and Richard Crichelowe, vicar of Bakewell, of all his lands in Stanton and Steverdale which came to him on his father's death, and of lands that should revert to him at the death of Alice his mother. Witn John Knyfton, Robert Gylbard, Nicholas Smetheby, etc. Dat. Stanton, M a. Pur of BVM [2 Feb], 11 Edw IV [1472]. (Woll ii 30)
  7. "Descriptive Catalogue of Derbyshire Charters" by Isaac Herbert Jeayes, 1906, includes a precis of charter No 1071 which reads:
    Extract of court roll of Dronfield manor, recording the admission, at a court of the feoffes of William, Lord Hastings, of John Parker and Robert Gylberd to lands etc, in Dronfield on the surrender of John Fox of Cold Aston and Thomas Fox his son and heir, who had the same of the grant of Sir John Melton knt. Dat Th. b. F. of Inv. of H. cross [3 May], 22 Edw IV [1482]. (Foljambe)
  8. Though the court roll extract relating to the land in Dronfield doesn't exlicitly state that the Robert Gilbert invovled was from Youlgreave, it seems a fair assumption as his son, Robert junior, has further dealings with the land 7 years later (11).
  9. "Descriptive Catalogue of Derbyshire Charters" by Isaac Herbert Jeayes, 1906, includes a precis of charter No 2235 which reads:
    Release by Ralph Saucheverell of Snyterton esq, and John Saucheverell of Morley, his son and heir, to Henry Alyn of Stanton Wodhouses and Nicholas Alyn his son, and heir apparent, of lands in Stanton Wodehouses, and also of an annual rent of 10s and suit to the mill of Aldeport. Witn Robert Gilbert, gent, Humphrey Knyvetone, gent, William Smetheby, vicar of Yolgrave, etc. Dat Michaelmas Day, 2 Ric III [1484]. (Woll ii 31)
  10. "Descriptive Catalogue of Derbyshire Charters" by Isaac Herbert Jeayes, 1906, includes a precis of charter No 303 which reads:
    Quitclaim from Roger Wayne of Alport to Henry Vernon knt, Richard Vernon, and Thomas, sons of the said Henry, Robert Gylbert sen, William Smethley, vicar of Youlgrave, and others, of all the lands which he acquired from the late John Aldwarke in Birchover and Normanton. Dat 14 May 7 Hen VII [1492]. (Kerry xix 372)
  11. Document from the "Portland of Welbeck (1st deposit): Deeds and Estate Papers", held at Nottingham Archives, reference 157 DD/P/70/22 (under Dronfield papers - various), dated 22 Oct. 1499. Catalogue entry reads:
    Demise: George, Earl of Shrewsbury, Thomas Talbot, Richard Knyveton and Thomas Jakes to Thomas Barley, Robert Gilbert, junr. of Yolgrave, Roger Temple of Barton undere Nedewode, co. Staffs. and Robert, son of Thomas Fox:-- messuage, 2 gardens and a croft (tenements of the gild of St. Mary of Dronfield W. and George, Earl of Shrewsbury E.); closes called Southwode and Byrkin Rowe; croft called Carre Croft; lac. in Habrowes (land of William Lowcok, chaplain E. and Robert Barley, W.); lac. (land of Robert Barley on either side); 1r. (land of Robert Barley, W. and John Cartlaige, E.); lac. in Alnesfeld (land of the gild of St. Mary E. and John Owtraym W.); 3r. at the Quekyn Tree (land of John Cartlaige S. and William Swyft B.); 3r. in the Rakys (land of John Cartlaige S. and William Parker, N.); 6ac. in the Westfeld (land of Robert Barley E. and Philip Leche W.) --: Power of attorney to William Mylner and John Cartlaige to deliver seisin and to surrender the premises in the manor court of Thomas Kebeel and other feoffees of Sir William Hastynges (late Lord Hastynges) in Dronfeld.
  12. Memorial to Robert & Joan Gilbert in Youlgreave church.
  13. A William Gilbert appears in court in Bowden in 1515, charged with affray (Yeatman's Feudal History of Derbyshire Vol 3, Section 6, page 395), and a Richard Gilbert appeared in a jury at Castleton in 1520 (Yeatman's Feudal History of Derbyshire Vol 3, Section 6, page 403). There are no other known Gilbert families extant at the time, and these are the only two mentions I have come across which I can't fit into the known family.
  14. The Feudal History of the County of Derby, by John Pym Yeatman, Volume 3, Secion 6, page 366, in a transcript of a court roll from Youlgreave, Stanton & Gratton held 22 Edward IV [1472/73] lists Robert Gilbard amongst those free tenants who were in default of service..
  15. "Catalogue of the charters, deeds and manuscripts in the Public Reference Library at Sheffield", entry 96, reads:
    (1481) Tuesday next after the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptiste (June 24th) in the 21st year of Edward IV.
    Charter (in Latin) given at Castleton (Co. Derby) relating to a burgage in the town of Castleton and land in the fields of Castleton.
    Surnames : Richard Marshall son and heir of John Marshall, Richard Eyre, John Joll (deceased).
    Witnesses : Robert Gilbert of Yolgreve gentleman, Richard Hally of Smerellgrannge, William Hall of Castleton, Thurstan Hall of the same, Robert Ferneys of the same.
    Place- Names : Castleton, Youlgreve, Smerrelgrannge.
    Vellum : one skin l0 X 3, a red seal in good preservation bearing a Wheatsheaf garbed.