The family took its surname from Gamaches in the Norman Vexin, but it cannot be proved that the first immigrant Gamage came over with the Conqueror. A Godfrey de Gamaches (died c. 1176), who aided Henry II in 1154 held two knight's fees under the De Lacys in Herefordshire, and was rewarded by Henry in 1159 with the manor of Stottesden, Salop. His elder son, Matthew, adhered in 1204 to the French king, and the younger, William, got the Herefordshire estate, centred upon Mansel Gamages, and was favoured by John with parts of his brother's escheated lands at Stottesden and at Dillwyn, Herefordshire; he had the custody of Ludlow castle in 1224. He died c. 1239-40. By his wife, Elizabeth de Burghull, who seems to have been alive as late as 1304, he had a son, Godfrey, who died before 2 October 1253. Godfrey left three daughters, one of whom, Elizabeth, was given in marriage to Henry de Pembridge; they had a son, Godfrey, who was alive in 1267, and may have assumed his mother's name. But these were not the only Gamages on the Welsh Border. A ‘Matthew de Gamages’ of Herefordshire is heard of in 1242 and again in 1264 and 1265, and a John de Gamage (died 1306) was abbot of S. Peter's, Gloucester, and was, in 1303, a party to a grant of the custody of some Glamorgan manors and churches to the prior of Ewenny, for a payment towards the erection of a dormitory at the abbey.
The precise link between the Gamages of Glamorgan and those of the Marches has proved elusive, but the evidence of Christian names points strongly towards the Mansel Gamages branch in which the names Godfrey and Payn (Paganus) were in use. Welsh genealogists trace the Coety Gamages to GODFREY DE GAMAGES of Rogiet, Monmouth, who is said to have married Joan, daughter of Richard de Clare (Strongbow) under. Their son, PAGAN or PAYN DE GAMAGE, married Margaret, daughter of Roger de S. Pierre. ROBERT GAMAGE, son of Payn, is recorded in the 1271 survey of Wentwood as holding his ancestral rights at Rogiet. He also held Mansel Gamages. A Robert de Gamage was a free tenant of the Rodboroughs of Rogiet in 1334. Robert, son of Payn de Gamage, married the daughter and heiress of John Martel, lord of Llanfihangel Rogiet. Their son, WILLIAM GAMAGE of Rogiet, was sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1325. He married Sarah, fourth daughter of Payn Turberville, kt., of Coety, and thereby forged the link with that Glamorgan manor. By the extinction of the co-heirs of Sir Payn's brother, Sir Richard Turberville, Coety eventually fell to the descendants of Sarah Gamage. GILBERT, son of William and Sarah, had licence to acquire the manor of Caldecote in Netherwent in 1381. When he died in the following year, custody of his heir was granted to the canons of Hereford. His widow, Lettice, daughter of Sir William Seymour, of Penhow, married Maurice Bassett without the king's licence. They were pardoned in 1383. It was Gilbert's second son, (Sir) WILLIAM GAMAGE, who succeeded to Coety, at the age of 30, on the death of Sir Laurence Berkerolles in 1411. He quitclaimed, on 20 October 1411, to John de Stradling, his right to lands granted by Sir Laurence Berkerolles in Coety. The succession was not established without much bickering and litigation. In 1412 William Gamage was involved in an attempt to expel Joan Vernon by force from Coety castle. He died in 1419, and in 1421 his lands were granted to the earl of Worcester during the minority of his heir, Thomas (aged 11 at his father's death) by Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Rodborough. THOMAS GAMAGE, who married Matilda, daughter of Sir Gilbert Dennis, and their son, JOHN, have left little trace of their existence. The latter married a Welsh heiress, Margaret, daughter of Llywelyn ap Ieuan Llywelyn of Radyr. The connections of two better-known contemporaries, Ralph, steward of the manors of the bishop of Llandaff in 1440 and coroner of Glamorgan in 1446, and Gilbert, seneschal of Ogmore, 1441, with the Coety family, are not known. John Gamage's son, MORGAN, married Eleanor, daughter of Sir Roger Vaughan of Tretower. With him the Gamages are caught up by the Welsh bardic tradition. Morgan Gamage was receiving the issues of Coety in 1488; Rhisiart ap Rhys wrote an elegy upon his death. His son, THOMAS GAMAGE, was knighted in 1513. Rhisiart ap Rhys addressed two poems to him before that year, and Lewys Morgannwg afterwards. He is said to have been twice married (1) to Margaret, daughter of Sir John St. John of Bletsoe, the mother of his children and (2) Joyce, daughter of Sir Richard Croft. In 1516 he was a party to a double settlement on the marriage of his son, JOHN, with Jane Stradling and his daughter, Catherine, with Thomas Stradling. John died in London during the lifetime of his parents; Lewys Morgannwg wrote an ode on the occasion, and Tomas ap Ieuan ap Rhys a cwndid. His elder brother, ROBERT, was on a commission to search for church goods in 1553, and on the commission of enquiry into the death of William Mathew in 1556. He was involved in litigation for the possession of Coety castle. His wife was Joan, daughter of Philip Champernoun. Robert's elder son, JOHN, married Gwenllian, daughter of Sir Thomas ap Jenkin Powel Tellet of Glyn Ogwr. He may have been the John Gamage entered on queen Elizabeth's pardon roll of 1559, and again pardoned in 1562. Rice Lewis, in the Breviat of Glamorgan, mentions Newcastle (Bridgend) as ‘a pretie pile newly begun to be re-edified by John Gamadge, esq., that last was. He died in 1584 and was succeeded by his daughter, BARBARA, an heiress of great attraction. Lord Burghley was annoyed because Sir Edward Stradling had taken her into his charge at S. Donats. In spite of his intervention she was married in Stradling's house to Robert Sidney (created earl of Leicester, 1618), in whose family Coety remained until the middle of the 18th century.
Though the main line of Gamages ceased with the death of Barbara, countess of Leicester, in 1621, collateral branches, legitimate and otherwise, flourished in Glamorgan for more than a century afterwards. Between 1640 and 1780 nearly forty Gamage wills were proved at Llandaff. These families became thoroughly Welsh. WILLIAM GAMAGE (c. 1637-41) wrote to William Herbert of Cogan Pill urging him to master the Welsh language. EDWARD GAMAGE, rector of S. Athan (died 1734), left a Welsh manuscript (Llan. B.19). A junior branch derived from Robert Gamage of Coety, son of Sir William Gamage, produced a remarkable clan of parsons. His grandson, JOHN GAMAGE (B.A.), was rector of S. Brides Minor, 1608-1646. He had three sons in holy orders: THOMAS GAMAGE (B.A.), who followed him at S. Brides, 1646-1670, holding it with approval during the Commonwealth; EDWARD (M.A.), rector of Coychurch, 1661-1685, Peterston-super-Ely, 1668-85, and archdeacon of Llandaff; and EDMUND (illegitimate, according to Clark), the ejected parson of Llanharry, 1645. His son, also Edmund, of Coety, was rector of Coychurch, 1686-1705, and correspondent of Edward Lhuyd. Edward, the archdeacon, also had three sons in holy orders: EDWARD GAMAGE (M.A.), rector of S. Brides Minor, 1670-1696, Nicholaston and Oxwich, 1696-9; THOMAS GAMAGE (M.A.), rector of Ubley, 1670, vicar of Penbryn, Cardiganshire, 1681, and of Llangyfelach, 1681-1700, and rector of Llanedi, 1682-1700; and FRANCIS GAMAGE (M.A.), rector of Marcross from 1681, and of Colwinstone, 1703-29. This Francis had a son, EDWARD GAMAGE (B.A.), rector of S. Marychurch and of S. Athan, 1717-34. The exact positions in the Gamage genealogy of WILLIAM GAMAGE (B.A.), vicar of Eglwysilan, 1614-25, and of ROBERT GAMAGE (B.A.), vicar of Llangennith, 1662-4, are not known. Dr. Thomas Richards suggests that the latter was related to the Edward Gamage who was ejected for delinquency from Rhossilly and restored in 1660. William Gamage was succeeded at Eglwysilan by NATHANIEL GAMAGE, 1625 - 1660, son of John Gamage of Coychurch, styled ‘pleb’. by Foster. Nathaniel was ejected for lack of preaching, but was rewarded, in 1660, by royal presentation to Newcastle.
Published date: 1959
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