Elizabeth (Knollys) Leighton
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Elizabeth (Knollys) Leighton (1549 - abt. 1605)

Elizabeth Leighton formerly Knollys
Born [location unknown]
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 1578 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died about at about age 55 [location unknown]
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Profile last modified | Created 12 Nov 2008
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According to her father, Sir Francis Knollys, [1]Elizabeth was born in 1549 upon trynyte even. [2] Trinity Sunday was celebrated 8 weeks after Easter Day ,[3] making her birth date 15 June 1549. [4]

Like other young well born women of her age, Elizabeth's family placed her at the English Court. She was appointed a Gentlewoman to the Privy Chamber of Queen Elizabeth with an annual salary of £33 6s 8d. She remained in this capacity until the Queen's death in 1603. [5]

In 1577, she was the subject of a very fine portrait attributed to the artist George Gower. She was depicted with red/brown curly hair and dressed in a very fashionable hat and gown. Her portrait is part of the collection that can be viewed today in the National Trust Collection at Montacue House in Somerset. [6] Court documents of this time show that she was very interested in beautiful clothes, both giving and receiving them as New Year gifts. At Hampton Court in 1577/78, she is mentioned as receiving, on behalf of the Queen, a gift of 2 peir of swete gloves, with fower dosen buttons of golde, in every one a sede perle from the Lady Mary Gray, and one peir of perfumed gloves, with twenty-four small buttons of golde, in every of them a small diamond, from the Lady Mary Sidney. In the 1578-9 list, she took delivery of a muffler of purple vellat, enbrawdred with Venice and damaske golde and perle from the Countess of Kent. Her own gift to the Queen was described as a fayre cap of black vellat, maybe something similar to the one she so jauntily wore for her portrait. [7]

On 10 May 1578 she married Sir Thomas Leighton of Feckenham, Worcestershire. Their marriage took place at the Chapel Royal with Elizabeth's Godmother, Queen Elizabeth, in attendance.[8] Two weeks prior to their marriage he had been appointed to the Governorship of both Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands, but it appears that Elizabeth preferred life at Court and mostly remained in England. [9] Letters exist in the archive of the British Library, showing that Lady Leighton involved herself in affairs of the administration of Guernsey, maintaining a long correspondence with her husband's deputy Edward Zouche. [10]

Elizabeth and Thomas had three children; a son Thomas and daughters Elizabeth and Ann. [11]

When her father died in 1596, Elizabeth was named in her father's will as one of his beneficiaries. Her title Lady Leighton was used. [12]

Elizabeth died by 18 Jun 1605 when her annuity of £200 was granted to Elizabeth Howard, Lady Carrick. [13]

Research Notes

Elizabeth is mistakenly called Cecilia in some sources. [14] No daughter named Cecilia was listed by Frances Knolly's in his Latin Dictionary. [2]


  1. A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant baronetcies of England, John Burke and John Bernard Burke. Published 1838.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Varlow, Sally Sir Francis Knollys's Latin dictionary: new evidence for Katherine Carey Historical Research, Volume 80, Issue 209, August 2007, Pages 315–323,Oxford Academic
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Trinity Sunday," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia (accessed March 14, 2020).
  4. Side-by-side Easter calendar reference for the 16th century Easter calendar
  5. Hammer, P.E.J The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics: The Political Career of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, 1585-1597 Cambridge University Press, 24 Jun 1999 pg 282 Google Books
  6. Elizabeth Knollys, Lady Leighton (b.1549) attributed to George Gower (c.1540 – London 1596) National Trust Collection
  7. Knollys Portrait, 19 May 2009 PDF
  8. Bundesen, Kristen PhD Which Elizabeth? Elizabeth Knollys Leighton, the Court of Admiralty, and the British Library Archives Nov 19 2019 Musings
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Elizabeth Knollys," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia (accessed March 14, 2020).
  10. Carole Levin, Anna Riehl Bertolet, Jo Eldridge Carney eds A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen: Exemplary Lives and Memorable Acts, 1500-1650 Taylor & Francis, 3 Nov 2016 pg. 515 Google Books
  11. Emerson, Kathy A Who's Who of Tudor Women Tudor Women
  12. Jones, Barry V GREYS COURT ROTHERFIELD GREYS OXFORDSHIRE VOLUME 2 THE 16TH AND 17TH CENTURIES English Heritage Buildings and Landscapes Survey and Investigation Division Report Series B/002/2005 PDF
  13. Emerson, Kathy A Who's Who of Tudor Women Tudor Women
  14. Hammer, P.E.J The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics: The Political Career of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, 1585-1597 Cambridge University Press, 24 Jun 1999 pg 282 Google Books

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Knollys-7 and Knollys-115 appear to represent the same person because: they appear to be the same person

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