Francis Knollys The Elder

Francis Knollys The Elder (1511 - 1596)

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Sir Francis Knollys The Elder
Born in Caversham or, Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 26 Apr 1540 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Rotherfield Greys, Nr. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified 8 Apr 2019 | Created 12 Nov 2008
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Sir Francis Knollys was born in 1511. He married Katherine Carey, daughter of William Cary and Mary Boleyn. He died on 19 July 1596. He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.). He was granted the lordship of Rotherfield Gray by Henry VIII. Participated in Defeat of Spanish Armada. (An unsourced profile that was merged into this profile gave a birth year of 1514.)

According to Burke's, Sir Francis was high in favour with Queen Elizabeth I. He was a member of her privy council, vice-chamberlain of the royal household and employed on several important diplomatic missions. In the 29th year of the queen's reign, he was appointed as one of the judges to decide the fate of Mary Queen of Scotland. It was subsequent to this role that he was appointed treasurer of the royal household and made a Knight of the Garter.

More Background on the Family From the time of Sir Francis, the family were associated with Greys Court at Rotherfield Greys and Caversham Park, then in Oxfordshire, as well as the nearby town of Reading in Berkshire, where the family's private chapel could once be seen in the church of St Laurence.


Sir Francis Knollys

Francis Knollys, who entered the service of Henry VIII before 1540, became a Member of Parliament in 1542 and was knighted in 1547 while serving with the English army in Scotland. He became custodian of Wallingford Castle in 1551. A strong and somewhat aggressive supporter of the reformed doctrines, he retired to Germany soon after Mary became queen, returning to England to become a privy councillor, vice-Chamberlain of the royal household, and a Member of Parliament under Queen Elizabeth, whose cousin Catherine Carey (d. 1568), daughter of William Carey and niece of Anne Boleyn, was his wife.

In 1568, was sent to Carlisle to take charge of Mary, Queen of Scots, who had just fled from Scotland. Afterwards he was in charge of the queen at Bolton Castle and then at Tutbury Castle. He discussed religious questions with his prisoner, although the extreme Protestant views which he put before her did not meet with Elizabeth's approval. He was treasurer of the royal household from 1572 until his death on 19 July 1596.

His monument may still be seen in the church of Rotherfield Greys. Knollys was repeatedly free and frank in his objections to Elizabeth's tortuous foreign policy; but, possibly owing to his relationship to the queen, he did not lose her favor and he was one of her commissioners on such important occasions as the trials of Mary Queen of Scots, of Philip Howard, earl of Arundel, and of Anthony Babington. An active and lifelong Puritan, his attacks on the bishops were not lacking in vigour and he was also very hostile to heretics. He received many grants of land from the queen, and was chief steward of the city of Oxford and a Knight of the Garter.

Children of Sir Francis Knollys the Elder

Sir Francis's eldest son Henry (died 1583), and his sons Edward (died 1580), Robert (died 1625), Richard (died 1596), Francis (died 1643), and Thomas, were all courtiers and served the queen in parliament or in the field. Richard's family continued to live at Rotherfield Greys, while Francis Junior's descendants held Battle Manor in Reading. Francis Senior's daughter, Lettice (1540–1634), married Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex and then Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. She was the mother of Elizabeth's favorite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.

Some of Knollys's letters[1]; and a few of his manuscripts are still in existence. A speech which Knollys delivered in parliament against some claims made by he bishops was printed in 1608 and again in W. Stoughton's Assertion for True and Christian Church Policie (London, 1642).


  1. are in T. Wright's Queen Elizabeth and Her Times (1838) and the Burghley Papers, edited by S. Haynes (1740)

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Comments: 8

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Knollys-160 and Knollys-1 appear to represent the same person because: These two profiles are clear duplicates; I have already proposed a merge of their wife Catherine, as she is a definite duplicate, and I am about to propose merges of their daughter Annes as they both were born on the exact same day, same location, with the same husband.
posted by Amy Utting
Knollys-138 and Knollys-1 appear to represent the same person because: Same name, same wife, same death. This is the top of a long line of duplicates.

Please merge. Thanks.

posted by Vic Watt
Knollys-1 and Knollys-131 appear to represent the same person because: Appear to be the same profile.
posted by Stevenson Browne
Knollys-1 and Knollys-124 appear to represent the same person because: Appear to be the same profile
posted by Stevenson Browne
Knowles-188 and Knollys-1 appear to represent the same person because: appear to be the same person
posted by Robin Wood
Knowles-1190 and Knowles-188 appear to represent the same person because: Given Knowles-188 has no ancestors or descendants, Knowles-1190 could be merged into this profile and we could eliminate an "orphan" into the process. Thoughts?
Knollys-107 and Knollys-1 appear to represent the same person because: duplicate son of Robert & Lettice
posted by Andrea Powell
Hi, I cleaned up the profile a little bit.

Francis is 14 degrees from Frederick Douglass, 17 degrees from Margaret Summitt and 4 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.