Thomas Fairfax (Gilling)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Sir Thomas Fairfax (c. 1475 – 1520) was an owner of Gilling Castle, near Gilling East, North Riding of Yorkshire, England. He and his wife Anne Gascoigne are common ancestors of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Sir Thomas Fairfax (father)[edit]

Fairfax's father, also named Thomas,[1] was presumably a supporter of the House of York in the Wars of the Roses. His original home was near the site of the Battle of Towton. Based on the 1349 marriage between Margaret de Etton and their ancestor, a third Thomas Fairfax of Walton,[1] the elder Thomas Fairfax successfully claimed the ownership of the Gilling Estate during two inquisitions, the first of which was in 1489.[2]

The elder Thomas Fairfax married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Sherburne of Lancashire.[3] Their son, the younger Thomas Fairfax, was the eldest of nine children; his brothers' names were Richard, Robert and John, and his sisters were Jane, Elizabeth, Isabel, Anne and Dorothy.[1]


In 1513, the younger Fairfax served with Henry VIII on his expedition to Artois. He was knighted when the city of Tournai (now in Belgium) surrendered to the king.[2] Upon his father's death in 1505, the younger Thomas Fairfax inherited the Gilling estate.

Marriage and family[edit]

The younger Fairfax's wife was Agnes (or Anne) Gascoigne,[1] daughter of Lady Margaret Percy, the daughter of Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland and through him, a descendant of Edward III.[2][4][5] Agnes's father was Sir William Gascoigne "the Younger" of York, son of another Sir William Gascoigne.

Fairfax had six sons and six daughters.

A celebrated member of the Fairfax family is Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax of Cameron (17 January 1612 – 12 November 1671) – the distant cousin of Sir Thomas Fairfax (Gilling) – who was a general and Parliamentary commander-in-chief during the English Civil War.[9]

Records[10] reveal that in his will, dated 26 November 1520, Sir Thomas Fairfax names his wife Anne (Agnes) – “Dame Anne Fairfax, my wif” – as an "executrix" and she is granted administration 11 April 1521.

Sir Thomas and Dame Anne Fairfax are common ancestors of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as American comedian and television personality Ellen DeGeneres.[8][3][11][12]


  1. ^ a b c d Norcliffe, Charles Best (1881). "The Visitation of Yorkshire in the years 1563 and 1564 made by William Fowler, Esq Norroy King of Arms". The Publications of the Harleian Society. The Harleian Society. XVI: 117–119. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Marwood 1995, Chapter 9.1
  3. ^ a b Adolph, Anthony (July 2012). "The Fairfax ancestry of the Duchess of Cambridge – a correction". Genealogists' Magazine. Vol. 30 no. 10. London: Society of Genealogists. 
  4. ^ Reitwiesner op.cit. – Ahnentafel entry 38561, Notes in respect of ancestry of entry 38561
  5. ^ Burke, John (1835). A genealogical and heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland. Volume II. London. p. 115. 
  6. ^ Reitwiesner op.cit. – Notes in respect of other descendants of entries 38560 and 38561
  7. ^ Reitwiesner op.cit. – Ahnentafel entry 19270
  8. ^ a b Adolph, Anthony. "The Ancestry of H.R.H. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge". Retrieved 2 October 2013. Having found a few problems which I could not resolve I published a cautionary article, 'The Fairfax ancestry of the Duchess of Cambridge – a correction' in The Genealogists' Magazine, vol. 30, no. 10, June 2012, pp. 407–411. Thereafter I kept searching and in July 2013 I found a pedigree compiled by the Suffolk clergyman-genealogist Matthias Candler (1604–1663), preserved in Harleian Manuscript 6071 (p. 502/f. 249v) in the British Library. Taken straight from the family's own knowledge, it confirmed the line as shown below, and dispelled any shadow of doubt. 
  9. ^ Cracroft-Brennan, Patrick. "Fairfax of Cameron, Lord (S, 1627) – Cracroft's Peerage". Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "The will of Sir Thomas Fairfax of Walton, Knight". Testamenta Eboracensia. V. Durham: Andrews & Co. 1884. pp. 121–123. 
  11. ^ Brooke-Little, JP (1978) [1954]. Boutell's Heraldry. London: Warne. ISBN 0 7232 2096 4. 
  12. ^ "US, Commonwealth hail birth of Britain's royal baby". Fox News World. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2017. "It's a boy! So happy for my cousin Kate and the future King of England!" tweeted US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, recently informed by the New England Genealogical Society that she is indeed a distant relative (through Sir Thomas Fairfax) of the future queen./ 
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Fairfax
Owner of Gilling Castle
Succeeded by
Nicholas Fairfax