Gees in England

©2013, 2009  Kathryn Gearhart (No portion of this web site may be reproduced, in any form, including Internet, electronic or print, in whole or in part.)


According to Fletcher, the records show that members of the Gee family migrated across England concentrating in four locations before the end of the 15th century.

Lincolnshire from 1340

Leicestershire from 1400

Nottinghamshire from 1460

Lancashire and Cheshire from 1490

English surnames were derived from a location, a profession, a personal characteristic, or descent.  Gee as a word is frequently noted in medieval documents with many different meanings,  I have noted it as meaning to go, to give, a horse, and even as part of a place name meaning windy.  The word is a command given to teams of oxen and horse to turn sharply to the rightA Dictionary of English Etymology states gee means to agree, to fit, to suit with, or jee, to be askew, as agee or ajye, or twist, as in  …a canna jye me neck.  Also, it can be used to mean to stir or to go, as in he wad na jee.   It can also be used to mean to give as in gi, geey, jee or ji.   In An Attempt at a Glossary of` Some Words Used in Cheshire, gee is a verb, meaning to fit, suit or agree with, and its use in Lancaster has its meaning from the Old Word to gee, or to gie, meaning to go.  In all of these the g is soft.  In 1301 Henri le Gee was noted in the tax records of Northamptonshire.  The appellation le Gee would translate from the archaic Norman French lès meaning in the vicinity of or near the gee.  It is not clear what this would mean using the definitions noted above. In Celtic roots, gee is connected to going out fitted with arms, and to the verb to eat.  In this instance the g is hard.

The anonymous volume The Norman People and Their Existing Descendents in the  British Dominions states that the surname Gee is the French pronunciation of Gui, (gwee) Guy (soft g in modern French) or WidoGui and guy also carry the meaning through Old French of one who is a guide.  It is claimed in the volume British Names, Their Origin and Meaning, by Barber, that Gee could be derived from Gits, a location in French speaking Belgium, the French Ghys, Gy, or the Irish M’GeeThe Patronymica Britannica lists Gee as derived from the Celtic Mac Gee.  Finally, another surname derivation list is: French Ghys; German Gey; Dutch Gee; Celtic from Magee or MacGee; Irish Geegson; Scottish McGhee. After perusing On Early English Pronunciation, with special reference to Shakespeare and Chaucer, I have concluded the derivation of the surname Gee, is least likely associated with the celtic M’Gee.  But more likely it is from either a soft French g sound derived from a location or occupation, or a soft g word derived from Old English.  The letter j was used interchangeably with the letter i in early docuents and even today is used infrequently to begin English surnames.

It is relevant to note that Middle English (1100 to 1485) vowels were all pronounced, without dipthongs or vowel pairs.  During the time of Chaucer, (1400 London) vowel pronunciations were: ah (a), ey (e), ee (i), oh (o), and ooh (u).  So, i and y were pronounced with the long e sound, and e was the long a sound!  This meant that the pronunciation sounds made by vowels would follow this pattern: sheep as shape; me as may; mine as meen; shire as sheer; mate as maat; out as oot; house as hoose; flour as floor; boot as boat; mode as mood.  Y is an interesting letter as is j and g.  J often was interchanged with i, as was yThy in Middle English was pronounced thee while yea was pronounced yeh.  The long ē sound in see was spelled using y or i while there was no long ī vowel sound in Middle English. The pronoun I was pronounced as long ē.  The ee spelling was usually pronounced as we would say eh, air or hay.   So what does this mean? It is easiest to work backwards.  The /e:/ sound as in say and spelled like nede and sweete  became the /i:/ sound as in see and spelled like fine and shyne; while the /i:/ sound shifted to the diphthong /ai/, as in time.  /a:/ sound as in father and spelled save and caas (case) became /e:/ as in say or name.  Also, it must be remembered that there was no j or w in Latin, the language of clerks who wrote down most of the records we have today.

The // sound of /g/ as in gesture occurred during Middle English with the introduction of French loanwords.  The Norman Conquest resulted in pronunciation conventions being incorporated into English used in the city of London.  This regional form of  English which had incorporated French first in official documents, and later in daily conversational language, was the dialect of the educated or ruling class.  It was incorporated into official records and important records and manuscripts were re-copied using the new London dialect and spelling conventions.   The centers of learning at Oxford and Cambridge influenced spelling norms by the 1300’s with the development of scholars and clerks for transcribing records.  (The History of English; Prof. Suzanne Kemmer; Rice University.)  In 1430 the bureaucrats in Westminster adopted the Chancery Standard, which soon was incorporated by other power centers. 1473 William Caxton printed the first book in English.  During the 15th through 17th century there was a shift in the pronunciation of vowels in English.  It actually only took a few generations to be completed, with younger members of a family adopting the new conventions, even as their elders retained old ways of pronouncing and spelling.  The great shift resulted in vowels sounding much more as they do today.  In Chaucer lyf was pronounced leef, but after the vowel shift lif and lyf were pronounced as life is today.  Before the great vowel shift the sentence I might go and buy some meat would be pronounced I meet go and boy sume mitt!

The shift in spelling of words to reflect the new sound began in the south of England.  It was in London, with its focus on scribes, and merchants, that the language began to become formalized.  Within a hundred years this transformation in pronunciation and spelling was completed.  It appears to have been brought about by two events.  In 1362 French, the language of the English government was abandoned when the Statute of Pleading made English the language of the courts and government under Edward III.  Preceeding this was the ravaging affects of the Great Plague of 1349, which killed about a third of the English people, including a very large number of the Latin-speaking clerics, and French speaking merchants. The Great Plague was followed by a migration into southeastern England from other regions in response to the shortage of labor in the region.  By 1385 schools began instructing in English.  One thing to remember is this did not happen overnight, and it was not universal.  Older speakers retained older spellings and pronunciation, and those in transition could and did mix the old with the newer conventions.  Also affecting the spelling and pronunciation during the transition was the level of education and gender, as well as proximity to locations of commerce and government.

Regional differences in pronunciation also influenced spelling.  English dialects can be divided into regions for Middle English; the north, the midlands east and west and the south, east and west.  Chaucer wrote in the London dialect, but imitated the Northumberland dialect in the Reeve’s Tale.  In this, Olde English words bathe, twa, wha correlate to London English bothe, two, who.


Doomesday in 1086 identifies two tenants in chief, Guy de Reinbudcurt, Thrussington, Hundred of Dalby on the Wolds, and Guy de Craon in Leicestershire, but by the time of the Leicestershire Survey, which was taken between 1124 and 1129, both had been replaced.  Other early records include Robert Guide of Normandy 1180, as well as William Guido 1198 and Robert Gy in England 1272.   In 1245 of Henry III, from Abingdon is a notice that Arnald (Ernald) Gy, burgess of Toulouse, owed money to Arnald and Hugh Gerudon burgesses of Castel Sarrasin.  Then in 1266 there are several entries for Imbert Gy, seneschal of Perigord, who was charged with the task of destroying Castillon sur Dordogne in Perigueux, by Louis, king of France.  Located in the Aquataine, today this is called Castillon-la-Bataille, and was the location of the last battle of the Hundred Years War in 1453.  In 1261-1331 Bernard Gui was a Dominican bishop noted in southern France.  Garin de Gy from 1349 to 1350 was the Master of the Order of Preachers, the Dominians.  Gy is located in eastern France.  Gy is associated with Gye and Guy as is Gui all derivitives of Guide and Wido.  At Claxton, also known as Clawson or Long Clawson in Leicestershire is an ancient Guy Family.  The first documented member was Robert Gye who died in 1505.  He was the father of Hugh Gye de Claxton whose will was filed in 1532, John Gye, William Gye, and Robert Gye de Claxton.  Hugh Gye was the father of Sir William Gye, chaplain, who died in 1564.  Robert Gye de Claxton was the father of William and Edward Guy.   It is from the mid 1500’s that the spelling of the name settles on Guye and Guy.  Edward Guye, a son of William removed to Bottesford about 1600.

In what was once Anjou, France is a region known as Gèe, along the River Gèe, in the Loire Valley, which includes the closely placed villages of Brains sur Gee, Coulans sur Gee, and Vallon Sur Gee, all west of Le Mans.  The available records of French births and marriages indicate the Gee name was represented in France in the 1600’s and onward.  I have not been able to find earlier French records to examine.

A quick look at the MacGhee family of Scotland shows a helpful variation in that spelling and the vowel configurations associated with a hard g.  In 1339 it is spelled Macge and M’Ghie; in the 1400’s it is spelled M’gy, M’gye, and in the 1500’s it is spelled M’Ghie, and Makgee.  The M’Ghie spelling continued through the 18th century.   Other variations were McGee, McGhee, Magee, and McGie.  Their arms included the faces of three leopards.  The Magee in Ireland held arms that displayed a lion.  The arms of the New England family of Gee, which is pronounced with a hard g is likely an indication that this branch descends from the MacGhee family of Scotland.  Their arms include the faces of three leopards.  DNA testing shows the New England Gee branch is not connected to those who settled in Virginia.

Joi, Joye, Jee, Gee Name Study

The most helpful examination of the Gee surname is found in Leicestershire.  According to Leicestershire Yeoman Families and Their Pedigrees, by W. G. Hoskins, M.SC (Econ), Ph. D. published in 1947; the ancestors of the Gee family were in Leicester from a very early date.  Hoskins states the name was spelled in a variety of ways, which was typical for early record keeping, and was likely derived from a French location, not from Gee Cross, a village in Cheshire, or from Jay, a village in Shropshire.  This does not preclude that the French location lent its name to the village in Cheshire or to Gee Moor a small manor in Gloucestershire, first known as Joy Moor.

Gee Moor lies in the parish of Bitton in Gloucestershire.  In the documents associated with Petronella, daughter of the sheriff of Glocestershire, William de Putot, and the wife of David le Bund, of Blount Manor, there are several notations for members of the Joye family.  The Blounts resided at Filton, and they obtained half of Bitton manor in 1323.  Robert Joye appears as a witness in a deed granted about 1230.  There are several entires, including one in the late 13th century (undated) when Richard de la More, knight, lord of Bitton confirmed a charter, and among the witnesses were Robert Joye, Martin de Oldelond, and Nicholas Joye. Then in 1333, Philip Joye was a witness to an associated deed in Bitton.  The occurance of Joye in early records is continued in Appendix i.

I am convinced there is a very early connection to Gee Cross and to William and Robert Gee noted in 1332 in Lincolnshire.  It becomes clear that men ventured across county lines following opportunities, and movement between Cheshire and Leicestershire as early as the mid 14th century is documented.  The Gee family married into prominent Cheshire families and prominent interrelated Leicestershire families during the 15th century.  Evidently they must have been successful in trade, acquiring enough income to qualify for the marriages they made. Fletcher states that Alexander Gee of Rothley was first noted in Leicestershire during the reign of Henry V (1413 – 1422).   I have not been able to locate the supporting documentation.

What do we know about names in modern England?  Gee is represented by 8,837 households throughout England in 1881, and by 441 households in Leicestershire.   The French Gui is pronounced as a hard gee, and the modern pronunciation of Joi is zhwa.  Jay however can be pronounced Jee.  Jee on the other hand has the same phonetic sound as Gee.

Continuing with this thread, le Joi and Joi are not represented anywhere in 1881 in England.  Joy accounts for 8 residents in Leicestershire, none born in that county.  Joye is absent from Leicestershire but is represented by 42 households in all of England.  So, clearly this is a name with limited use in England, but they were entitled to a coat of arms, which was different from those of the Gee family.  Jee, a phonetic equivalent to Gee is represented by 8 residents in Leicestershire, in townships identified in earlier records with the same spelling.  Jee accounts for 221 households throughout the country.  Gy continues to be used as a surname in a few instances in the 15th and mid 17th century.  After this, it disappears.  I believe Gee, and Jee are different spellings for the same name.  In Leicestershire Gye leads to a family named Guy, however, there are occasions where it is transformed to Gee.  It is unclear if Gui, Gey, and Gy are associated with Gee or with Guy. I suspect in most instances it is Gee.  Occasionally in parish records it is clear that they represent the Gee family.

I agree with Hoskins, that in the case of the Leicester burrough records, Joy and Joye are most likely archaic spellings for the same name, or mistranscriptions of old cursive.   A study of early “Joye” wills is included in Appendix i as is an examination of the 14th century entries for the name in counties other than Leicestershire.

Variations in the letter “e” in the 14th and 15th century

   e4    e3    e2    e1


“Joe” I believe is a mistaken transcription of Jee, as Goo is a mistaken transcription for Gee in another early record.  My experience tells me the letter “e” can easily be misread as “o” as the two letters are almost identical in writing of that period.  Also, it is often difficult to differentiate “i” and “y.”   Finally, Jay was once pronounced jee, and may be another manifestation of the same surname.

The first notation is Johanne de Joi, in 1159-62, who witnessed the charter of Robert Bossu, second earl of Leicester, as did Mathew Vilers (Villiers) for the castle of Leicester.  In 1179 Johanne de Joi was a witness to a deed by Robert the count of Meulan (Mellent) of four rams to the Abbey Royal of St. Peter of Jumieges. Also witnessing the deed were William, Abbot of St Mary Valatio Durand, Walter Brion, and Mathew Bochetot.  Robert, count of Meulan (Mellent), died at Poitiers in 1204.  The Abbey was rebuilt by the Norman, William the Conqueror.

In October 13, 1201 Henry de Whiston appointed Thomas his clerk as his attorney against the men of the earl of Leicester of Syston in an appeal brought by Walter de Barewell and John Joye, men of the said Henry.  Henry de Whiston was the son of William de Whiston the undertenant of Ramsey Abbey, Northamptonshire in 1120.  William de Whiston held 1 1\2  virgates and was often one of several knights that stood in the assize.  His son Henry succeeded him around 1130.  Sir Henry de Whiston, knight of the abbey, was succeeded in 1191 by William, steward of the abbey who was elected knight of the abbey for Wales in 1245.

In 1204 is the valuation of Ilston on the Hill, late held of John de Joye.  That same year the sheriff of Leicestershire was ordered to deliver to Hugh de Chaucombe seisin of the land of Ilston on the Hill, late of John de Joye. 

In the Pipe Rolls of Henry III 1223-1224 is this notation:

22 Sept. Bridgnorth. Leicestershire. Order to the sheriff of Leicestershire to place in respite, until upon his account at Hilary in the ninth year, the demand for £12 that he makes from Walter de St. Ouen, who is in Bristol castle with the king’s niece, for the debt that JOHN DE JOYE, whose land Walter has by bail of King John, owed the king. By the justiciar.

     Illston on the Hill lies eight mile south-east of Leicester.  In 1086 there were 22 persons at Illston and in 1381 there were 32 taxpayers.  In 1086 91/2  carucates were held by Hugh de Greteesnil.  In 1205 an estate at Illston was confiscated from John de Joy, a Norman, and it was held as part of the bailiwick of the Sheriff of Leicester, by Hugh de Chacombe, Walter de St. Audoen, Nicholas de Nereford, and John de Nereford.  In 1220 Henry de Segrave and his wife Iseult were granted 6 virgates, which included a windmill, in exchange for land in Eaton.  On March 24, 1228, during the reign of Henry III, a grant was made to John de Hereford of land in Ilston-on-the-Hill (Leicestershire) and Thurnby, late of John de Joye, Norman, and which Hereford formerly held of the king’s bail, to hold until the king restore etc.  Then in 1231, a grant to the priory of Creake of all the land late of John de Joye, a Norman, in Ilston-on-the-Hill and Thurnby and also of £10 pa rent, which Walter de Pattishall formerly paid to the advocate of Bethune for the manor of Rothersthorpe and which John de Hereford used to hold at the king’s bail, to hold in free alms until the king shall restore the land etc; with provision for compensation in that event.  Peter fitzSilveron claimed that Robert de Joye granted him a tenement in Leicester, to hold of him by a pair of gilt spurs for all service, this tenement was late held of Walter de St Oen, who had been granted John de Joye’s manor of Ilston on the Hill.  In 1240 William de Beauchamp held 1/5 knight’s fee in Illston. In 1277 Arnold DuBois died seised of land IIllston.  His heirs were his son John, then son William.  William’s heir was Maud Lovel, his neice, and the wife of William, Lord Zouche of Haringworth who died in 1352.

In 1322 Roger Joy is noted in the records of Hinckelee (Hinkley) Manor, Leicestershire.

The next Leicester notation is for John Joy who is listed among the Mayor’s account in 1326/27 as being paid for hose.  That same year John de Digby is listed as contributing with many others to the purchase of a present for the earl.  Listed among the members of the merchants’ guild, in the city of Leicester, in the time of King Edward III is John Joye.  This John, whose name was also spelled Joy, was a mercer in Leicester.  He was assessed 25 s. an amount being on the upper end, with the highest assessment noted as 120s and most under 10s.  William Beler, Johannis Joye and several others, all mercers and members of the guild, brought complaint against Robert Othe North, (Robert of the North),  mercer, that he was trading in Apple Lane daily to the injury of his bretheren of the guild and against the ordinance.

In 1349 the plague in Leicester caused the deaths of thousands.  In the parish of St. Leonard’s 380 died, in St. Martin’s more than 400 and in St. Margaret’s 700 died. Other parishes had similar consequences.  The price of goods and live stock plummeted.  The poor suffered the greatest devastation.  It was in this year that the Guild of Corpus Christi was formed.  Again in 1361, disease ravaged Leicester and among its victims was the Duke of Lancaster who died in March at Leicester Castle.

In 1354 John Joy is noted in the Tallage rolls, then in October, 1357, the Merchant Guild Roll noted that John Joy was accused before the Mayor of Leicester, Jurats and others of abusing Robert of Coventry collector of the tallage of the Duke of Lancaster.  He was bonded with a pledge of ₤5 and ordered to pay a fine to help with the maintenance of the bridges of Leicester.

In 1405 Nicholas Joye, of Stathern, one of the coroners for Leicestershire during the period 1422 – 1485, was godfather for William Villers.  John Joye at an earlier time was coroner in Gloucestershire. (See Appendix i.)  In 1464 it was noted that John Joye held a knight’s fee in Stathern of John Mowbray, duke of Norfolk.  Stathern lies 10 miles north of Melton Mowbray.

In Leicester Corpus Christi Guild records Robert Jee pro 1 mes’ in quo manet (which remains) Will. Coke, sherman (shearman is someone who finished fustians, a type of cloth)… being one messuage for the rent of five shillings in 1494-95.   This is likely the property noted in the subsidy roll of 1492 as being in the possession of Robert Joy, in the south quarter.  Also listed in 1495 is Thomas Vyllers for 1 messuage vocato le Belle 10s. A subsidy tax roll notes the heirs of Thomas Gees in possession of property in the south and west sections of Leicester, while the heires of Gees held property in the north section.  From the same guild records in September, 1458, Thomas Joe paid five shillings for rent of a tenement in the Sheeps Market, on the corner of Gentyl Lane, which in 1494-95 was held by Robert Jee for the same rent.  In the records of Leicester, Thomas Joe is also noted as Thomas Joye as early as 1459 and in 1464 and 1471 he witnessed a charter for Wyggeston Hospital.

Military records do not tell us the counties of origin.  However, it is noteworthy that there were variations in the spellings that appear to be the origins of Gee.  John Joye served in France in 1372 under John Neville, and in 1372 John and Roger Joye served.  John Joie and Roger Joie served in France for 1 year in 1373.  In 1378 Robert Joye served.  Robert Joy, John Joye, and Thomas Gy served as archers in 1417 under the command of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, in the expedition to France.   Recall that William Geye, yeoman archer had served in 1415’s expedition to France under William Walgrave and Henry V.  This is likely William Guy however.

Of interest is the notation in 1401 of the marriage of Roger Joye in Norfolk.

In 1494 Robert Gee merchant of Southwald, was admitted as a freeman in the City of York. He appears to be related to Robert Joye de Southwald, whose will was filed in 1510.

 arms aspinall

     A modern example of the fluidity of spelling can be illustrated in the arms of John Bridge Aspinall after he married Bertha Wyatt Jee, the daughter of John Audley Jee.  They were married at St. John, Chester in January, 1843.   The General Armory states that the family Jee of Hart’s Hill, Warwickshire were entitled to the arms described as Gule a sword in bend argent, pomelled or. Crest gauntlet argent garnished at the writs or, holding a sword of the first, hilt and pommel gold. The motto was Deus fortitude meo, meaning God fortify me.   Bertha Jee’s grandfather was Edward Jee, Esquire, of Moor Lodge, near Liverpool.  He married Emily Wyatt, daughter of John Wyatt, the inventor of the spinning machine who died in 1766.  The arms show Jee quarterd with Audley on the right.  These are the same arms as the Gee family of Yorkshire, Leicestershire, and Cheshire.

As further indication that the name Joye became Gee is the story of George Joye alias Gee. In the Yale edition of the complete works of St. Thomas More vol. 8, part 2 pg. 1198 his name is given as George Joye (Jay, Iaye, Gee, Geach, Clerke).  On British History Online, his name is given as Gee.

George’s brother was Henry, who is also referenced as Henry Joye alias Gee. The pedigree of the Eston family of Bedfordshire in the visitation of 1566 notes that Thomas Estaon of Holme, son and heire, married Margaret, daughter of Henry Gee alias Joye of Bedelowe in Bedfordshire.  In Buckinghamshire is this record:  Thomas Malett, husbandmand of Hardwick, Buckinghamshire versus Richard Clerke and Henry Joye alias Gee regarding unspecified lands.  This undated record lies within the time frame of 1491 to 1547. (Access to Archives)

Records found in London

1318 Nicholas Joye with others carried away goods at Potton, Bedfordshire, and assaulted Robert Kok and Richard de Caldecote, and set fire to a house; filed in Northamptonshire.

1328 Thomas Joye accussed with a large group of hunting in the park at Mershton, Bedfordshire, and taking away nine horses, fourteen oxen, two bulls, twelve cows an twelve bullocks, and at Tullesworth taking eleven horses, 28 oxen, 36 cows, 2 hundred sheep, and forty swine as well as deer from the park.

1394 Simon Joye granted 20 s. a year for life from the issues of the manor of Bray by Queen Anne.

In Bedfordshire in 1399 Alexander Joye, chaplain with others, obtained a messuage and a moiety of 1 acre in Craunfeld.   Then, in 1426-32 the records of the Archbishop of York include a suit by John Sycombe, a clerk of the Exchequer against John Rodelond, parson of Toddington, Nicholas, parson of Stathern (Leicestershire) , Richard Carlton, Alexander Joye, chaplain, and Thomas Joye, of Cranfield regarding the manor and advowson of Marston Moretaine, enfeoffed by John Mortain, knight, deceased to Thomas de Reynes, knight and others.  Marston Moretaine is located in Bedfordshire, very near Cranfield a few miles south of Bedford.

In March 1438/9 is a deed of all lands, tenements rents and services etc. in the fills and fields of Wylden’, Rounhall (Renhold, Bedfordshire), and Rauenysden which lately belonged to John Wymmyngton of Wylden, … with reversion of …one piece of land called le Hern with hedges and ditches, buttin on the croft of John English, which Henry Joye and Matilda, his wife, held for the term of their lives by grant from John Wright, vicar of Golyngton, William Eleyot and John Corener, both of Golyngton.  (Bedfordshire)

North of Bedford is Renhold in the Hundred of Barford.  In 1413,  William Joye received a lease from the prior of Newnham granting him 1.5 acres of land, lying in the fields of Renhold; 1 acre lying against Wycobrook, next to the lands of the first marshall; 8 acres of land lying at Astclene, next to the land of the abbott of Wardone, now in the tenure of the father of William Joye, 1 with 5 selions land lying upon Astcelene, 8 selions and 1 “gora’ in Fleggeho; 1 selion upon Madefurlong next to the lands of Micheal Lord, now held by John Hert with 1  parcel of pasture called “le Canonesmed” next to “le Castelmilles” for 11x 6d., twice a year for 4 years.  The will of William Joye was filed in 1503.  William was a lawyer and his will left an endowment for a priest to sing mass at St. Paul’s, Bedford, on behalf of Henry VII and the Queen.  William’s son was John Joye, yeoman of Renhold, who died in 1521 and was buired in Renhold.  John Joye was the father of George and Henry Joye (alias Gee).

George Joye alias Gee

George Joye (alias Gee) was a former priest and scholar of Cambridge who was born at Salph- end a section of Renhold, Bedfordshire in 1490 and died in 1553.  George was ordained in 1515 when attending Christ’s College, Cambridge where he obtained a B.A. and an M.A. In 1522, Sir John St. John wrote to Master Golde and notes Master Jorge Gee …a scholar at Christ’s College.   While at Cambridge in 1527, George came to the attention of Cardinal Wolsey after being accused as a heretic.  Aware of the torturous interrogation by Wolsey, George fled to Europe where he became a printer of religious tracts of Protestant leaning in Antwerp.  He was also a printer in London for a short time.  George was accused of plagerizing and changing much of Tynsdale’s translation of the Bible.  George Joye (Gee) was a friend of Thomas Bilney who was martyred at Norwich in 1531, and Richard Bayfield, an importer of writings by Joye and Tynsdale, who was martyred at Smithfield in London the same year.   George Joye also came into conflict with Sir Thomas More.

In 1533 George tried to get the authorization from Henry VIII and Anne Bolyne to publish a bible in English.  It was in this year that Vaughn wrote to Cromwell that he had met with George Gee (not Joye) in Antwerp to assertain if he knew who was writing and publishing tracts against the divorce cause of Henry VIII.  Gee informed Vaughn that these were priests who were coming into England in disguise and identified several individuals who were printing the tracts.  A letter from Gee to Cromwell was delivered, and Vaughn declared Gee an honest subject of the King.

Thomas Thebold, in 1535 wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury, that Harry Phylleppes (Henry Philips) had a commision, evidently from the Black Fiars, to put an end to Tyndale, Barnes and George Joye.  He wrote that Joye was greatly blamed and abused among merchants and others who were his friends.  Edward Foxe, writing to Cromwell in 1535, also stated that he had George Joye lodging with him in Calais and that George never said anything that was against the King, or contrary to the King’s beliefs concerning the sacrament, etc.  In 1546, Henry VIII included the prayer book translated by Joy among the outlawed English language scriptural documents.

George was the father of five sons and three daughters, the youngest son, George, was born in 1543.  George returned to England in 1548, after the death of Henry VIII.  He was given the Rectory of Bluham, Bedfordshire by Sir Henry Grey of Fitton and in 1550 he became the Rector of Ashwell, Herfordshire.  George died in 1553.

Henry Joye alias Gee

George’s brother, Henry, was Attorney in the Common Plea to the Newnham Priory, Bedfordshire.  There is a suit by Thomas Malett, husbandman of Hardwick, Buckinghamshire against Richard Clerke and Henry Joye alias Gee regarding unspecified lands in the records.  It has to be wondered if this is the same Richard Clerke whose daughter married into the Villiers family.  (See Appendix i.)   During the reign of Henry VII in 1487 Henry Gee was appointed to a commission to oversee the keepers, conductors, and wasters appointed for the protection of fisheries coast on the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk, and to levy contribuions for the expenses of Richard Grene, master of the ship the Mychell of Fowey, Thomas Bettes, master of the Anne of London, and William Betyll, master of the Mychell of Oxford.

In 1509, Henry Joye gave to the prior of Newnham a quitclaim for a croft adjoining in ‘Salphoende’ in the parish of Renhold, with another croft called Huntecroft, with all hedges, ditces…. And croft adjoining, … with every land meadows lying in the fill and fields of Renhold… To demise and feoffment Richard Joye of Bedford, son and heir of Thomas Joye of Salphoende.  Renhold Manor is noted in Doomesday as Salphobury, Salchou and Salvho and was held in 1086 by Hugh de Beauchamp.  In 1512 Richard Joye was noted in a deed for a shop.

Sometime after 1509 John Gostwick entered the service of Thomas Wolsey.  He became one of the Gentlemen Ushers Extraordinary who attended Henry VIII in his chamber.  He was also a merhant, being an importer of caps and hats and a wax chandler, overseeing the quality of candles, wax images, and wax torches. In 1517, Cardinal Wolsey, then Abbot-commendatory of St. Albans, gave to John Gostwick, a lease on the lands which belonged to Beadlow Priory before its dissolution.  The manor of Bedlowe, with lands, water mill, and meadows in the town and fields of Clophill, Silsoe and Maulden, were rented for a little more that £20.  Gostwick then rented this to Henry Joye (Gee), but retained the advowson.  In 1538, the farm was leased to John Fisher of Clifton.  It included a hall, parlor, with chamber above, kitchen, stable and barn.  Fisher later purchased the farm from the crown.  Sir William Fitzwilliam was given the manor by Edward VI.  Beadlow manor with farm lies due east of Cranfield and south of Bedford.  Gostwick was appointed auditor for certain locations in Yorkshire.  Then, in 1523, John Gostwick of Wakefield, Yorkshire received his coat of arms.  By 1527, he was third in rank in Wolsey’s household, and purchased Willington Manor from the Duke of Norfolk. Interestingly, in 1529 Henry Joye was attorney for John Croke, Oliver Leder, and William Jefson, who brought a suit regarding the Manor of Willington against Thomas, Duke of Norfolk and Elizabeth his wife.

Wolsey fell from favor in 1529, but Gostwick had become a friend of Thomas Cromwell and continued to enjoy favor.  In 1530 he was admited to Gray’s Inn.  Then, in 1535 he purchased the Manor of Chamberlainsbury alias Goyes in Dunton.  Three years later he purchased the Manor of Renhold, from Sir John Nevill, who was a descendent of Beatrice Beauchamp, heir of John de Beauchamp, in the partition of the barony of Bedford in 1265.  Gostwick survived the fall of Cromwell to become the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire and entertained the King at Willington in 1541.

In Bedfordshire in 1535 it is noted that Henry Joye and John Fyssher, as well as Sir Michael Fyssher, and Sir William Gascoygne received grants.   In 1535 a deed and feoffment was given by John Norman to Richard Fyssher and Stephen Canon of 22 acres of land and all appurtenances lying in the fields of Barford….  This deed notes Henry Joye, gentleman, who with William Whyte had conveyed this land to John Norman.

Henry Joye is likely the Henry Gee noted as a visitor to Bishop Fisher during his confinement in 1535 in the Tower of London.  Bishop John Fisher was born in Beverley, Yorkshire in 1469.  He was the son of John Fisher a merchant of Beverley.  Fisher was a student at Beverley Grammar School, Yorkshire and then studied at Cambridge from 1484 to 1491.  Fisher was chaplain to Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII and tutor to Prince Henry (Henry VIII).  He strenuously pursued Tinsdale and other Lutherans, often using torture.  In 1533 Fisher was arrested to stop him from interfering with Cranmer’s move to grant Henry VIII divorce and marriage to Anne Boleyn.  He was released, but confined again a year later and beheaded on Tower Hill in 1535.

In June, 1535 visiting Bishop Fisher in his chamber in the tower as reported by Lord Lisley were Walter Stanyngs, the abbot of York, Sir William Gasscon, Sir George Lawson, Cusake and Finglas, Henry Gee, and Anne Salben.

Sir George Lawson was from York, and was a correspondent with Cromwell, who at the time of the visitation was a valued supporter of the king.  At Berwick, Northumberland he was receiver, treasurer, master of the ordnance, customer and comptroller, bridge master, master carpenter and master mason.  In 1516 he and his wife joined the Corpus Christi Guild in York, and by 1523 he was assessed for £200 in goods there.  He was mayor of York and sent to Parliament for the city.  In 1533 he was one of the commissioners for administering the oath of allegiance at York.   Despite his sympathy to the king’s great cause, he also appears to have been a sympathizer with the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace that entered York in 1536.

Walter Stanyng, esquire, was from Honeycutt, Somerset.  He was a defendant in suits to collect debts several times; first, in 1529 to Robert Mathew the chaplain of St. Michaels, on Crooked Lane in London, then to a London mercer.  At the time of the visit to Fisher, he was the abbot of York.

Sir William Gasscon (Gascoigne) was from Dewsbury, Gawthorpe, Yorkshire, but held large estates in Bedfordshire.  He was associated with Wolsey and Cromwell.  At the time of his visit he was steward to Sir John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer, of Yorkshire.  Lord Latimer was appointed to the council of the north and was a signer of the petition sent to the pope in favor of Henry VIII’s divorce.

Anne Salben (Salvyn, Salvin, Salvayne) was the widow of Sir Ralph Salveyn, whose estate was settled in 1535, passing to his son and heir, George Salvayne.  They also held land in York, Calais, It needs to be noted that Hugh Hastings married Anne Gascoigne, and their daughter Elizabeth married Robert Salvayn.

In 1517 Cardinal Wolsey, leased Beadlow Abby to John Gostwick.  It included land, a water mill, with a nonastery and meadows which belonged to the town and fields of Clophill, Silsoe, and Maulden.  Gostwick sub-let the manor to Henry Joye or Gee.  This lasted until 1538, when the Abbey leased the farm to John Fisher of Clifton.  It was described as a hall, parlour, chamber above, a kitchen and barn and stable.  Eventually Fisher bought the farm and land from the King.  The manor went to Sir William Fitzwilliam.

Henry Joye of Bedfordshire died in 1547.  The pedigree of the Eston family of Bedfordshire in the visitation of 1566 indicates Thomas Eston of Holme, son and heire, married Margaret, daughter of Henry Gee alias Joye of Bedelowe in Bedfordshire.  Her second husband was Nicholas Pygott of Holme. In the same visitation it is noted that Jane daughter of John Joye of Renhall married Thomas Randes of Radwell in Bedfordshire.

Continuing in Renhold, at Salphobury, was William Joy, who wrote his will in July, 1581.  He left to his wife, Joane, all his leases and farms of Salphoburie for life during her widowhood, except the furthest part of the laysure next Styrtilend, also except the two bradfields next to Salphoende, after the young William Joye’s lease is ended.  To his son-in-law William Cleyton and Elizabeth Cleyton he left all his copyholds called Hilles al’s Arrundells, with Cannons close and the two Bradfields.  To his daughter Joane he left £80.  He left money to the children of Robert Smith, of Thurleigh, and the children of Paul Pecke.  He left a house on a hillside at Ravensden to his grandson, William Smith.  He left the mansion houre, or the bury-steed of Salphobury with all the houses, closes, meadows, feedings arable lands, sheepgates, commons, water rings, tithes, etc. to his son-in-law Paul Pecke. He made his wife and son-in-law, Paul Pecke the executors.  The administration of the will of William Joye alias Gee of Renhould, Bedfordshire was filed in PCC in 1593.

Other members of this family at Renhold included William Joye, whose wife, Alice, died in 1604; William was buried in 1623; Edmund Joye who died in 1604; Edward Joy who married Dorothy Barry in 1623; which is later entered as Edward Gee who died in 1667 and his wife Dorothy who died in 1638.  The Cardington Parish register records the marriage in 1573 of Robert Gee and Margaret Harwood.  At Flitwick George Gee was buried in 1635.  Further in the apprenticeship records in London, in 1632, are Abraham Joy Alias Gee new freeman, son of Richard Joy alias Gee of London.  Also of interest is the will of Jacob Joy (Joye) alias Gee of the parish of St. Peter, Bedfordshire, written in 1647 and filed in the Perogative Court in 1653.  His relic was Susan.


10 thoughts on “Gees in England

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know who wrote the article “The end of the Gees” ?

  2. Peter Gee says:

    Great read and a lot of historical data to go through. I have managed to trace my lineage back as far as Peter and Mary Gee (nee Pollitt). Peter was my Great Great Great Grandfather and born in Lostock (Manchester) circa 1775; his parents were Thomas and Martha but that is where my trail goes cold and I cannot move further back.
    If anyone is able to provide direction or information on the line further back, it would be appreciated,
    Cheers, Peter

  3. Annette Gee Ford says:

    Have a correction/addition for you on the Henry Gee line that moved to Quincy, Gadsden Co., Florida. Primarily, that Henry’s wife was Martha Elizabeth (Forrester) Gee. Henry died in 1851. Thanks again for your wonderful work on our heritage.

  4. geesnmore says:

    The Hannah Jones family material is may latest revision, as well as the Jones Family on my sister site, Allied Families. I am currently working on revisions to Gees of England… I am posting my revisions to Lincolnshire now, and hope to finish Leicestershire and get them posted this week. Keep in touch.

  5. Kathryn, my apologies for losing your recent update (e-mail) about your latest additions. Would you please reconfirm what those were? Thank you, Mark Gee

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Annette, I would love to touch base as I am a direct descendant of Col. Daniel Pope Holland, the lawyer who participated in successfully defending Major Gee in his post-war trial. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to procure “The Captive” but expect there are a few notes we could compare. There’s little more I can find on the topic, at least not as specific as I would like. Michelle

  7. Graeme Gee says:

    I’m Graeme Gee….descendant of Charles Gee who came to the Swan River colony ( later Perth, Western Australia) on board the ‘Caroline’ in 1829. Charles was an indentured servant to the Henty family of Sussex, England

  8. geesnmore says:

    Thank you Annette for your generous comment. I want to commend you on your own research into the story of Major John Henry Gee in your book The Captive. Keep in touch, and please provide any insights or constructive comments as you peruse the material.

  9. Annette Gee Ford says:

    Thanks for the wonderful research. It’s fabulous! I am Annette (Gee) Ford, daughter of Austin M. Gee; son of John S. Gee; son of Boliver H. Gee of Decatur Co., GA; son of Henry Gee of Gadsden Co. Fl [Bolivar is also the brother of John Henry Gee, Confederate who was commandant of prison at Salisbury, NC]; son of James Gee (Mary Walker), of Cumberland Co. NC; son of Henry Gee (Rachel) of Virginia; son of Charles (Hannah) Gee of Virgina.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s