Gower Bibliography

John Gower, the Poet

Nicolas, Sir Harry. "John Gower, the Poet." Retrospective Review and Historical and Antiquarian Magazine 2 (1828), pp. 103-117.


Nicolas argues against the opinion that the poet was a member of the Gower family of Stitenham, in Yorkshire, and suggests instead that Gower should be associated primarily with land holdings in Suffolk and Kent. Nicolas points to a 1373 deed relating to lands in Suffolk and to which the same arms and crest as the poet's are affixed. The John Gower of the deed is said to be lord of the manor of Kentwell (in Suffolk), feoffees of which resided in Kent. Since members of the feoffees' families were among the poet Gower's executors, it seems likely that he was connected with that county. Nicolas therefore carefully traces the history of the Gower family associated with the manor of Kentwell. He demonstrates that in 1333 the manor was granted to a Sir Robert Gower, who was likely the poet's uncle. Sir Robert had two daughters, Joan and Katherine, the former of whom granted the manor to a John Gower in 1368. Nicolas also connects the poet to the Septvans family in Kent (Gower was a feoffee of the manor of Aldyngton). All of this suggests that even though Gower was not a member the Yorkshire Gower family (who bore "radically distinct" (111) arms), he was still well born and possessed of considerable property. Nicolas speculates on whether he may have had children, and he traces the possible descent of Gower's family and relatives well into the fifteenth century. Lastly, Nicolas presents two new pieces of information about Gower, the one a 1382 indenture relating to the manors of Feltwell in Norfolk and Multon in Suffolk, and the other a record of Henry of Lancaster's gift of a collar to "un esquier John Gower" (117). The article also contains a copy of Gower's will, a description of Gower's tomb, excerpted from Blore's "Sepulchral Antiquities of Great Britain," and two references to his life in copies of the CA and the VC. [CvD]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Biography of Gower

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