Gainsford, Thomas (DNB00)

GAINSFORD, THOMAS (d. 1624?), author, belonged to the Surrey family of Gainsford. He with Edward Stene apparently purchased of the crown Alne manor, Warwickshire, and a cottage in Stutton, Yorkshire, 27 Nov. 1599 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1598–1601, p. 347). He is known to have served in Ireland under Richard de Burgh, fourth earl of Clanricarde, as ‘third officer’ of the ‘earl's regiment’ when the Spaniards were dislodged from Kinsale on 24 Dec. 1601 (Hist. … of … Tirone, ded.). He was also engaged in the war against Tyrone in Ulster. As captain, Gainsford undertook to occupy land in Ulster at the plantation of 1610 (Irish State Papers, 1608–10, p. 367). On 4 Sept. 1624 Chamberlain wrote to Carleton that the deaths of the week in London included ‘Captain Gainsford, the gazette maker’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1623–5, p. 334). This is doubtless a reference to our author. Gainsford published the following: 1. ‘The Vision and Discourse of Henry the seventh concerning the unitie of Great Britaine, Lond., by G. Eld for Henry Fetherstone, 1610,’ in verse of six-line stanzas; dedicated to ‘the truly religious and resolute gentlemen of England.’ An address from Henry VII to James I figures in the poem. Only two copies are now known, one at Bridgewater House, the other at the British Museum (Collier, Bibliogr. Manual, i. 300–1; Corser, Collectanea, vol. vi.). 2. ‘The Historie of Trebizond in foure books, by Thomas Gainsforde, esquier,’ Lond., 1616, a collection of romantic stories. The books are separately dedicated to the Countess Dowager of Derby, the Countess of Huntingdon, Lady Frances Egerton, and Lady Chandos respectively. 3. ‘The Secretaries Studie; or directions for the … judicious inditing of Letters,’ Lond., 1616; no copy is in the British Museum. 4. ‘The True and Wonderfull History of Perkin Warbeck,’ Lond., 1618, dedicated to the Earl of Arundel; reprinted in ‘Harleian Miscellany,’ vol. iii. 5. ‘The Glory of England, or a true Description of many excellent Prerogatives and remarkable Blessings whereby she triumpheth over all the Nations of the World,’ Lond., 1618, dedicated to Buckingham. All ‘the eminent kingdoms of the earth’ are here compared with England to their disadvantage. A curious account of Ireland from the author's own experience concludes book i. Book ii. treats of Russia, and compares London with Paris, Venice, and Constantinople. A revised edition appeared in 1619, and was reissued in 1620. 6. ‘The True Exemplary and Remarkable History of the Earl of Tirone,’ Lond., 1619, dedicated to the Earl of Clanricarde; of no great value, but interesting as a nearly contemporary record.

Mr. W. C. Hazlitt also conjecturally assigns to Gainsford ‘The Rich Cabinet furnished with varietie of excellent discriptions, exquisite characters, witty discourses and delightfull histories, deuine and morrall,’ Lond., for Roger Iackson, 1616. An appendix—‘an epitome of good manners extracted out of the treatise of M. Iohn della Casa called Galatea’—is signed T. G., together with a Latin motto. This signature resembles those in Gainsford's undoubted books, but the question of authorship is very doubtful. Some hostile remarks on players, ff. 116–18, are interesting. The book was popular; a fourth edition is dated 1668, and a sixth 1689. ‘The Friers Chronicle, or the True Legend of Priests and Monkes Lives’ (Lond., for Robert Mylbourne, 1623), has a dedication to the Countess of Devonshire, signed T. G., and has been attributed to Gainsford. But Thomas Goad (1576–1638) [q. v.] is more probably the author.

[Gainsford's Works; Manning and Bray's Surrey, iii. 174; Hazlitt's Bibliographical Handbook and Miscellanies; authorities cited above.]

S. L. L.