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Dethick, Gilbert (DNB00)


DETHICK, Sir GILBERT (1519?–1584), Garter king-of-arms, was probably born in 1519 or 1520, although according to the inscription on his portrait the date is as early as 1500. The Dethicks pretended that they were descended from a family of that name seated at Dethick Hall, Derbyshire. Ralph Brooke, York herald, asserts, on the other hand, that their origin was derived from Robert Dericke, a Dutchman, who came to England with Erasmus Crukenez, yeoman armourer to Henry VIII, and whose wages amounted to only tenpence a day. It is said that this Robert married Agatha, daughter of Matthias Leydendecker, a Dutch barber of Acon [Aachen?] in Germany, who also became an armourer to Henry VIII; the issue of the marriage being three sons, Dericke, Matthias, and Gilbert. The latter procured for himself and his brothers denization by parliament; and by the daughter of one Leonard, a Dutch shoemaker, at the sign of the Red Cock, in St. Martin's Lane, London, became father of Sir Gilbert. There can be little doubt that the Dethicks were of Dutch extraction, but it is improbable that their connections were as mean as Brooke suggests. The three brothers Dericke, Matthias, and Gilbert were all opulent. The younger Gilbert entered the College of Arms at the age of sixteen, being created Hampnes pursuivant extraordinary, 16 June 1536, at Hampton Court, then called York House. He was appointed Rouge Croix pursuivant in December 1540, and Richmond herald on the 25th of the same month. William Fellow, Norroy king-of-arms, dying shortly before Christmas 1546, Dethick was nominated to succeed him in Henry VIII's reign, and he obtained from Edward VI, on 16 Aug. 1547, a patent confirming the appointment. After the death of Sir Christopher Barker he was created Garter king-of-arms on 20 April 1550, and on 14 April 1551 he received the honour of knighthood.

He was employed in public affairs by several sovereigns, and Henry VIII rewarded him with the grant of a mansion and an acre of land at Poplar, in the parish of Stepney, where his descendants resided for nearly two centuries. In Henry's reign he went several times to the court of Denmark to claim ships; he was also sent to the Duke of Cleves concerning the royal marriage; and he attended the diet of Ratisbon. In 1547 he accompanied the lord protector Somerset in the expedition against the Scots, and in 1549 he was sent to deliver to the rebels in Kent, Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk a summons to surrender. It has been stated that he was the envoy who, in July 1549, boldly proceeded to the ‘Tree of Reformation,’ near Norwich, and promised a free pardon to the followers of Kett the tanner if they would quietly disperse. It appears, however, that the officer of arms was York herald, and not Norroy (Russell, Kett's Rebellion in Norfolk, pp. 59, 73–6). The Marquis of Northampton when commissioned to invest Henry II of France with the order of the Garter was accompanied by Dethick. In the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, Dethick frequently went abroad on similar missions, and at home it became his duty to proclaim declarations of war and treaties of peace on various occasions. He died in London on 3 Oct. 1584, and was buried in the church of St. Benet, Paul's Wharf.

He married, first, Alice, daughter of Leonard Peterson, a Dutchman (she died 13 Jan. 1572); secondly, Jane, daughter of Richard Duncomb, esq., of Moreton, Buckinghamshire, and widow of William Naylor, one of the six clerks in chancery. By the former marriage he had three sons: Nicholas Dethick, Windsor herald; Sir William Dethick [q. v.]; and Henry Dethick, B.D., LL.B., chancellor of the diocese of Carlisle, who died in or about 1613. The children of the second marriage were Robert; and Mary, wife of Thomas Butler, barrister-at-law, of Orwell, Cambridgeshire.

Dethick was a good scholar and a member of the old Society of Antiquaries (Archæologia, i. p. xvi). His works are: 1. ‘The manner of carryinge and deliveringe of the Garter to Henry II, king of France, in the time of Edward VI (1551), the Lord Marquess of Northampton, Ambassador, with the Bishop of Ely, and Sir Gilbert Dethick, Garter.’ In Harl. MS. 1355, art. 6. 2. Heraldical papers and collections. Harl. MS. 5826; Addit. MS. 10110. 3. ‘Dethickes Guiftes,’ being his grants and confirmations of armorial bearings (1549–84), with the arms in trick. Addit. MS. 12454; cf. Harl. MS. 5847.

A private plate of his portrait has been engraved by Audinet, and another portrait, from an initial letter in a manuscript, will be found in Dallaway's ‘Heraldry’

[Addit. MSS. 14293, 15215, 15565, 17434; Anstis's Order of the Garter, i. 381–6; Cotton MSS. Cal. B. ix. 384*, Faust. E. i. 10, 31; Dallaway's Heraldry, p. 174; Dugdale's St. Paul's, p. 51; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, No. 15041; Guillim's Heraldry, p. 353; Harl. MSS. 1359, art. 1, 3, 1412, art. 18, 1438, art. 2, 1441, art. 36, 37, 1453, art. 6; Hist. MSS. Comm. Rep. iv. 596, viii. 261, viii. Append. pt. iii. p. 35; Report on the Gawdy Papers, p. 149; Noble's College of Arms, pp. 120, 126, 128, 133, 142, 143, 144, 151, 164; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. v. 366, 2nd ser. xi. 420, xii. 383; Weever's Funeral Monuments, p. 670.]

T. C.